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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2007 Jan 2;260-262:49-58. Epub 2006 Nov 9.

Distal regulatory elements are required for Fshr expression, in vivo.

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Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.


The gonadotropin follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is required for initiation and maintenance of normal gametogenesis and acts through a specific, cell-surface receptor (Fshr) present only on Sertoli and granulosa cells in the gonads. Despite extensive examination of the transcriptional mechanisms regulating Fshr, the sequences directing its expression to these cells remain unidentified. To establish the minimal region necessary for Fshr expression, we generated transgenic mice carrying a yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) that contained 413 kilobases (kb) of the rat Fshr locus (YAC60). Transgene expression, as determined by RT-PCR, was absent from immature testis and Sertoli cells, limited to germ cells of the adult testis, and never observed in the ovary. While the data is limited to only one transgenic line, it suggests that the 413kb region does not specify the normal spatiotemporal expression pattern of Fshr. Comparative genomics was used to identify potential distal regulatory elements, revealing seven regions of high evolutionary conservation (>80% identity over 100bp or more), six of which were absent from the transgene. Functional examination of the evolutionary conserved regions (ECRs) by transient transfection revealed that all of the ECRs had modest transcriptional activity in Sertoli or myoid cells with two, ECR4 and ECR5, showing differential effects in expressing and non-expressing cells. These data reveal that distal regulatory regions (outside the 413kb in YAC60) are required for appropriate temporal and spatial Fshr expression and implicate the identified ECRs in transcriptional regulation of Fshr.

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