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J Biol Chem. 1994 Apr 22;269(16):12212-9.

Multiple regions of the human cardiac actin gene are necessary for maturation-based expression in striated muscle.

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  • 1Muscle Development Unit, Children's Medical Research Institute, Wentworthville, New South Wales, Australia.


In order to elucidate mechanisms involved in striated muscle contractile protein isoform expression, we have defined regulatory elements in the cardiac actin gene necessary for postnatal expression at the level of transcript accumulation in the heart and hindlimb muscles of transgenic mice. During this developmental period in the rodent, cardiac actin expression essentially remains constant in the heart, but declines significantly in skeletal muscle. We determined that a 13-kilobase human cardiac actin gene fragment contains sufficient information to direct this maturation-based developmental expression, as well as striated muscle-specific and high level expression. We localized an element responsible for maturation-based down-regulation in the 3' flank of the gene between approximately 950 and 2120 base pairs downstream of the polyadenylation site. Furthermore, we determined that -800 base pairs of 5'-flanking DNA, which contains multiple MyoD1 binding sites, as well as serum response element and AP1 binding sites, can account for striated muscle-specific expression, but not high level expression. Findings indicate that sequence(s) responsible for high level expression of the gene must be located within the body of the gene. We conclude that the human cardiac actin gene contains distinct sequences which confer developmental, tissue-specific, and high level expression.

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