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Development. 1993 Mar;117(3):905-16.

Two enhancer regions in the mouse En-2 locus direct expression to the mid/hindbrain region and mandibular myoblasts.

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Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics, University of Toronto, Canada.


An En-2/lacZ gene fusion containing 9.5 kb of En-2 genomic DNA was capable of directing lacZ expression in an En-2-specific manner both temporally and spatially during embryogenesis and in the adult. lacZ expression was confined in the embryo to cells within the mid/hindbrain and mandibular arch regions and in the adult to cells of the molecular and granular layers of the cerebellum, and within the pons and colliculi regions. Interestingly, in the adult, transgene expression patterns within the cerebellum in two lines appeared to mark distinct anterior-posterior compartments. Analysis of the expression pattern of this transgene, in fetal and adult mice lacking a functional En-2 protein, provided evidence that the En-2 gene in mouse is not autoregulated. Deletion analysis of the En-2 genomic region and the use of a heterologous promoter identified two enhancer-containing regions of 1.5 and 1.0 kb in length, 5' of the transcribed sequences, which independently directed expression in the embryo to either the mid/hindbrain region or mandibular myoblasts, respectively. The 1.5 kb fragment contains the most anterior neural enhancer and the 1.0 kb fragment, the earliest myogenic enhancer thus far characterized. These En-2-specific regulatory regions can now be used in a biochemical analysis to identify proteins important in anterior-posterior patterning of the vertebrate CNS and in the specification of muscle identity as well as in a mutational analysis to direct expression of other developmentally important genes to these regions.

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