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Gene. 1991 Mar 15;99(2):249-54.

The prokaryotic neomycin-resistance-encoding gene acts as a transcriptional silencer in eukaryotic cells.

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Cell Biology and Genetics Section, GBF - Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung mbH., Braunschweig, F.R.G.


The gene encoding neomycin resistance (neo) mediates a cis-acting negative effect on expression from promoters in transient and stable transfectants of mammalian cell lines. Inserting the neo gene either into retroviral vectors or into plasmids containing reporter genes results in a five- to tenfold decrease of expression from proximal promoters like the simian virus 40 early or the retroviral myeloproliferative sarcoma virus promoter. The silencing effect is not dependent on the insertion site or the orientation of the fragment. The neo gene is frequently used in eukaryotic vectors as a dominant selectable gene. Other selectable genes were tested for potential cis-activity. We found that the gene conferring resistance to puromycin from Streptomyces alboniger does not influence adjacent promoters.

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