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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2000 May;278(5):L933-45.

Human SP-C gene sequences that confer lung epithelium-specific expression in transgenic mice.

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Division of Pulmonary Biology, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3039, USA.


We used transgenic mice to identify cis-active regions of the human pulmonary surfactant protein C (SP-C) gene that impart tissue- and cell-specific expression in vivo in the lung. Approximately 3.7 kb of genomic SP-C DNA upstream of the transcription start site was sufficient to direct chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter gene expression specifically in bronchiolar and alveolar epithelial cells of the lung. To further define cis-active regulatory elements that mediate cell-specific expression, we tested deletions of the parental 3.7-kb human SP-C sequence in transgenic mice. Tissue CAT assays of mice generated with truncations or overlapping internal deletions of the 3.7-kb construct functionally map alveolar cell-specific regulatory elements to within -215 bp of the SP-C promoter. Analysis of SP-C promoter deletions demonstrate that sequences between -3.7 kb and -1.9 kb contain enhancer sequences that stimulate SP-C transgene expression. In situ hybridization studies demonstrate that deletion of the -1,910- to -215-bp region abolishes the ectopic bronchiolar expression seen with the original 3.7-kb SP-C promoter construct. Comparison of sequences from -215 to +1 bp identified consensus binding sites for the homeodomain transcription factor thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1). Cotransfection assays of the human 3.7-kb SP-C or -1,910- to -215-bp SP-C deletion construct with a TTF-1 expression plasmid demonstrates that TTF-1 transactivates the human SP-C gene. These results suggest that the TTF-1 cis-active sites are important in directing cell-specific expression of the SP-C gene in vivo.

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