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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2001 Jan;17(1):78-96.

Neuron-specific expression of therapeutic proteins: evaluation of different cellular promoters in recombinant adenoviral vectors.

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Neuro-Regeneration Laboratory, University of Tübingen, Medical School, Verfügungsgebaude, Auf der Morgenstelle 15, Tübingen, 72076, Germany.


In order to achieve neuron-restricted expression of antiapoptotic proteins, cellular promoters were investigated for their expression profiles in the context of adenoviral vectors. Both the synapsin 1 gene and the tubulin alpha1 gene promoters were strictly neuron specific in cocultures of primary neurons with their essential feeder cells. The neuron-specific enolase gene promoter exhibited only weak activity in cultured hippocampal neurons and was not neuron specific in preparations of cerebellar granule cells. By attaining virtually 100% transduction efficiency we were able to generate "quasi-transgenic" primary neuron cultures using both differentiated and completely undifferentiated hippocampal neurons. In a functional assay, we used the synapsin promoter to evaluate the effect of Bcl-X(L) overexpression on potassium-withdrawal-induced apoptosis of cerebellar granule neurons. We found nearly complete inhibition of caspase-9 and -3 activation and apoptosis, indicating a major role for mitochondrial pathways in this paradigm of neuronal cell death. The excellent suitability of the synapsin promoter as a strong panneuronal promoter was further demonstrated by its restricted neuronal activity in various brain regions of adult rats in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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