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Biochem J. 2002 May 15;364(Pt 1):89-99.

Identification of an initiator-like element essential for the expression of the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-4 (Timp-4) gene.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, U.K.


We have used real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (TaqMan) to quantify the expression of the four tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (Timp) genes in mouse tissues during development and in the adult. Among the four Timp genes, Timp-4 shows the most restricted pattern of expression, with highest RNA levels in brain, heart and testes. These data indicate that in the brain, Timp-4 transcripts are temporally regulated during development, becoming more abundant than those of the other Timps after birth. Cloning of the Timp-4 gene confirmed a five-exon organization resembling that of Timp-2 and Timp-3, and like all Timps, Timp-4 is located within an intron of a synapsin gene. Ribonuclease protection analysis and 5'-rapid amplification of cDNA ends PCR identified multiple transcription starts for Timp-4 from brain and heart mRNA. The promoter region of Timp-4 was functional in transient transfection analysis in mouse C3H10T1/2 fibroblasts, where it directed basal expression that was non-inducible by serum. The TATA-less promoter contains consensus motifs for Sp1 and an inverted CCAAT box upstream of an initiator-like element that is in close proximity to a transcription start site. Mutation of the CCAAT box caused a 2-fold increase in reporter expression. More significantly, mutation of the Sp1 motif or initiator-like element almost completely abolished reporter expression. This first functional characterization of the Timp-4 promoter shows it to be distinct from other members of the Timp family and provides insights into potential mechanisms controlling the tight spatio-temporal expression pattern of the gene.

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