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Dev Biol. 1996 Aug 1;177(2):536-43.

Developmental- and eye-specific transcriptional control elements in an intronic region of a Ca(2+)-activated K+ channel gene.

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Department of Zoology, University of Texas at Austin 78712-1064, USA.


The range of electrical properties that a neuron or muscle cell can manifest is determined by which ion channel genes it expresses and in what amounts. The Drosophila slowpoke Ca(2+)-activated K+ channel gene has four distinct promoters. Here we assess the role that a downstream intronic region, called the C2/C3 region, plays in modulating Promoter C1 and Promoter C2 activity. Promoter C1 and Promoter C2 appear to be responsible for all neuronal and muscle expression, respectively. Transgenic flies were used to determine the expression pattern from each promoter in the presence and absence of the C2/C3 region. Deletion of this region silences Promoter C1 in adult but not larval CNS and causes a substantial reduction in Promoter C2 activity in adult but not larval muscle. The C2/C3 region also activates Promoter C1 in the animal's eye. By placing the C2/C3 region adjacent to a basal HSP70 promoter we have demonstrated that it contains elements that can specifically activate a heterologous promoter in the eye and in adult but not larval muscle. These results demonstrate that the C2/C3 region has a important role in regulating slowpoke developmental expression in the CNS and musculature and in regulating eye expression.

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