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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Apr 1;1691(1):23-31.

Mechanism of cyst specific protein 21 mRNA induction during Acanthamoeba differentiation.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Markey Center for Molecular Genetics, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.


The Acanthamoeba cyst specific protein 21 (CSP21) gene is tightly repressed in growing cells and highly induced early during differentiation into a dormant cyst. This increase is mediated by the rate of transcription of the CSP21 gene as determined by nuclear run-on assays. The promoter region of the CSP21 gene was analyzed by transcript start site mapping and in vitro transcription of wild-type or mutant templates, using extracts from growing cells. A sequence located 3' to a modified TATA box completely inhibits transcription and removal of this region permits robust transcription utilizing a start site approximately 35 base pairs downstream of the TATA box. Sequences 5' to the TATA box had no effect on transcription, suggesting that anti-repression is the only mechanism required for CSP21 induction. Fractionation of nuclear extracts yielded a fraction capable of transcription from the CSP21 promoter, and a fraction containing a promoter-specific repressing activity. Anti-repression may thus be a major mechanism regulating differentiation or maintenance of the proliferative cycle in Acanthamoeba.

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