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EMBO J. 1985 Aug;4(8):1981-9.

Structure and cell-specific expression of a cloned human retinol binding protein gene: the 5'-flanking region contains hepatoma specific transcriptional signals.


Human plasma retinol binding protein (RBP) is coded by a single gene and is specifically synthesized in the liver. We have characterized a lambda clone, from a human DNA library, carrying the gene coding for plasma RBP. Southern blot analysis and DNA sequencing show that the gene is composed of six exons and five introns. Primer elongation and S1 mapping experiments allowed the definition of the initiation of transcription and the identification of the putative promoter. The 5'-flanking region of the RBP gene was fused upstream to the coding sequence of the bacterial enzyme chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT): the chimeric gene was introduced, by calcium phosphate precipitation, into the human hepatoma cell line Hep G2 and into HeLa cells. Efficient expression of CAT was obtained only in Hep G2. Primer elongation analysis of the RNA extracted from transfected Hep G2 showed that initiation of transcription of the transfected chimeric gene occurs at a position identical to that of the natural gene. Transcriptional analysis of Bal31 deletions from the 3' end of the RBP 5'-flanking DNA allowed the identification of the RBP gene promoter.

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