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J Biol Chem. 1993 Mar 5;268(7):5332-8.

In vivo analysis of the murine beta-myosin heavy chain gene promoter.

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Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Ohio 45267-0575.


The 5' upstream region of the murine beta-myosin heavy chain (MHC) gene has been isolated and tested for its ability to drive gene expression in transgenic mice. Three classes of transgenic mice were generated. The constructs contained approximately 5000, 2500, and 600 base pairs of beta-MHC upstream sequence fused to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene and were termed beta 5, beta 2.5, and beta .6, respectively. Muscle-specific expression was observed with all three constructs. However, only the beta 5 lines directed high levels of muscle-specific transgene expression in both pre- and postbirth mice. Expression driven by the two shorter constructs was two to three orders of magnitude lower when the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase specific activities were compared. These data suggest that a distal-positive element directs high levels of gene expression in the ventricle and in slow skeletal muscles. Analyses of transgene expression during heart maturation revealed that some of the beta 5 lines were not able to respond in an appropriate manner to developmental transcriptional cues. Unlike the endogenous beta-MHC gene, which is down regulated in the ventricles around the time of birth, reporter gene expression in the majority of the lines generated was not shut off in the ventricles of the adult animals. These data indicate that high levels of muscle-specific beta-MHC gene expression are dependent upon the combinatorial interactions of a number of sequence elements that are distributed over a large region of the gene's upstream sequence.

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