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J Biol Chem. 2002 Feb 15;277(7):5194-202. Epub 2001 Dec 3.

Promoter sequences targeting tissue-specific gene expression of hypothalamic and ovarian gonadotropin-releasing hormone in vivo.

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Section of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Molecular mechanisms directing tissue-specific expression of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) are difficult to study due to the paucity and scattered distribution of GnRH neurons. To identify regions of the mouse GnRH (mGnRH) promoter that are critical for appropriate tissue-specific gene expression, we generated transgenic mice with fragments (-3446/+23 bp, -2078/+23 bp, and -1005/+28 bp) of mGnRH promoter fused to the luciferase reporter gene. The pattern of mGnRH promoter activity was assessed by measuring luciferase activity in tissue homogenates. All three 5'-fragments of mGnRH promoter targeted hypothalamic expression of the luciferase transgene, but with the exception of the ovary, luciferase expression was absent in non-neural tissues. High levels of ovarian luciferase activity were observed in mice generated with both -2078 and -1005 bp of promoter. Our study is the first to define a region of the GnRH gene promoter that directs expression to both neural and non-neural tissues in vivo. We demonstrate that DNA sequences contained within the proximal -1005 bp of the mGnRH promoter are sufficient to direct mGnRH gene expression to both the ovary and hypothalamus. Our results also suggest that DNA sequences distal to -2078 bp mediate the repression of ovarian GnRH.

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