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J Biol Chem. 1998 Dec 25;273(52):34926-32.

Mouse mu opioid receptor gene expression. A 34-base pair cis-acting element inhibits transcription of the mu opioid receptor gene from the distal promoter.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


The 5'-flanking region of the mouse mu opioid receptor (MOR) gene has two promoters, referred to as distal and proximal, and the activities of each in the brain are quite different from each other. The 5'-distal promoter regulatory sequences (5'-DPRS), positioned between these two promoters, have strong inhibitory effects on the reporter gene expression driven by the MOR distal promoter. In our studies, detailed 3' deletion mapping of the 5'-DPRS narrowed down the negative cis-acting element to a 34-base pair (bp) segment (position -721 to -687). This 34-bp cis-acting element functions in both neuronal (NMB) and non-neuronal (CHO and RAW264.7) cultured cells. S1 nuclease protection assays indicated that this 34-bp cis-acting element suppresses distal promoter activity at the transcriptional level. Linker scanning mutagenesis demonstrated that nucleotides around position -721 and -689 in the 34-bp cis-acting element are essential for the regulation of distal promoter activity. Operational characterization of the 34-bp cis-acting element in the homologous MOR distal promoter and the heterologous SV40 promoter showed that its effects are position- and promoter-dependent while being orientation-independent in both promoters. Collectively, these data suggested that this 34-bp segment is a conditional transcriptional cis-acting element that blocks mouse MOR gene expression from the distal promoter.

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