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J Neurochem. 2000 Oct;75(4):1408-18.

Tau promoter confers neuronal specificity and binds Sp1 and AP-2.

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Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Tau, a microtubule-associated protein, is encoded by a single gene, whose expression is primarily neuronal. In this work, we defined an 80-bp region of the tau promoter that confers tau protein with neuronal expression. This fragment works in conjunction with an endogenous initiation region to activate neuronal precursor-specific transcription of the tau promoter and works independently of this initiation region to confer nerve growth factor inducibility. Furthermore, this 80-bp fragment binds both Sp1 and AP-2 proteins. DNase I foot-print analysis revealed a third protein binding region at the center of this 80-bp fragment in neuronal cells. Mutation within any of these three protein binding sites decreases transcriptional activation of the tau gene. Comprehension of the interactions that occur between cis- and trans-regulatory elements of the tau promoter is important to understand the regulation of tau expression during normal development and changes that may occur in many cases of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

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