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Biochem J. 1997 May 1;323 ( Pt 3):611-9.

Role of the 5' enhancer of the glutamine synthetase gene in its organ-specific expression.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Embryology, University of Amsterdam, Academic Medical Centre, Meibergdreef 15, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In mammals, glutamine synthetase (GS) is expressed in a large number of organs, but the precise regulation of its expression is still obscure. Therefore a detailed analysis of the activity of the upstream regulatory element of the GS gene in the transcriptional regulation of its expression was carried out in transgenic mice carrying the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene under the control of the upstream regulatory region of the GS gene. CAT and GS mRNA expression were compared in liver, epididymis, lung, adipocytes, testis, kidney, skeletal muscle and gastrointestinal tract, both quantitatively by ribonuclease-protection analysis and topographically by in situ hybridization. It was found that the upstream regulatory region is active with respect both to the level and to the topography of GS gene expression in liver, epididymis, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, small intestine and colon) and skeletal muscle. On the other hand, in the kidney, brain, adipocytes, spleen, lung and testis, GS gene expression is not or only partly regulated by the 5' enhancer. A second enhancer, identified within the first intron, may regulate GS expression in the latter organs. Furthermore, CAT expression in the brain did not co-localize with that of GS, showing that the 5' regulatory region of the GS gene does not direct its expression to the astrocytes.

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