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Mol Endocrinol. 1990 May;4(5):669-77.

Effect of 5'-flanking sequence deletions on expression of the human insulin gene in transgenic mice.

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Institut Jacques Monod, CNRS, Université Paris VII, France.


Expression of the human insulin gene was examined in transgenic mouse lines carrying the gene with various lengths of DNA sequences 5' to the transcription start site (+1). Expression of the transgene was demonstrated by 1) the presence of human C-peptide in urine, 2) the presence of specific transcripts in pancreas, but not in other tissues, 3) the specific immunofluorescence staining of pancreatic islets for human C-peptide, and 4) the synthesis and accumulation of human (pro)insulin in isolated islets. Deletions in the injected DNA fragment of sequences upstream from positions -353, -258, and -168 allowed correct initiation of the transcripts and cell specificity of expression, while quantitative expression gradually decreased. Deletion to -58 completely abolished the expression of the gene. The amount of human product that in mice harboring the longest fragment contributes up to 50% of the total insulin does not alter the normal proportion of mice insulins I and II. These results suggest that expression of the human insulin gene in vivo results from the cooperation of several cis-regulatory elements present in the various deleted fragments. With none of the deletions used, expression of the transgene was observed in cell types other than beta-islet cells.

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