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Blood. 1998 Jan 15;91(2):419-30.

Transcriptional regulation of vav, a gene expressed throughout the hematopoietic compartment.

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Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


The vav gene is expressed in all hematopoietic but few other cell types. To explore its unusual compartment-wide regulation, we cloned the murine gene, sequenced its promoter region, identified DNase I hypersensitive (HS) sites in the chromatin, and tested their promoter activity with a beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) reporter gene in cell lines and transgenic mice. Whereas fibroblasts had no HS sites, a myeloid and an erythroid cell line contained five, located 0.2 kb (HS1), 1.9 kb (HS2), and 3.6 kb (HS3) upstream from the transcription start and 0.6 kb (HS4) and 10 kb (HS5) downstream. A vav DNA fragment including HS1 promoted beta-gal expression in a myeloid but not a fibroblast line. Expression in leukocytes of transgenic mice also required HS2 and HS5. Only hematopoietic organs contained beta-gal, but virtually all beta-gal+ cells were B or T lymphocytes. Expression was always variegated (mosaic), and the proportion of beta-gal+ cells declined with lymphoid maturation and animal age. Thus, these vav regulatory elements promoted hematopoietic-specific expression in vivo, at least in lymphocytes, but the transgene was sporadically silenced. Maintaining pan-hematopoietic expression may require additional vav elements or an alternative reporter.

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