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Mol Cell Biol. 1991 May;11(5):2881-6.

Insulin gene expression in nonexpressing cells appears to be regulated by multiple distinct negative-acting control elements.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232.


Selective transcription of the insulin gene in pancreatic beta cells is regulated by its enhancer, located between nucleotides -340 and -91 relative to the transcription start site. Transcription from the enhancer is controlled by both positive- and negative-acting cellular factors. Cell-type-specific expression is mediated principally by a single cis-acting enhancer element located between -100 and -91 in the rat insulin II gene (referred to as the insulin control element [ICE]), which is acted upon by both of these cellular activities. Analysis of the effect of 5' deletions within the insulin enhancer has identified a region between nucleotides -217 and -197 that is also a site of negative control. Deletion of these sequences from the 5' end of the enhancer leads to transcription of the enhancer in non-insulin-producing cells, even though the ICE is intact. Derepression of this ICE-mediated effect was shown to be due to the binding of a ubiquitously distributed cellular factor to a sequence element which resides just upstream of the ICE (i.e., between nucleotides -110 and -100). We discuss the possible relationship of these results to cell-type-specific regulation of the insulin gene.

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