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Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Jun 10;33(10):3401-11. Print 2005.

cAMP-responsive element in TATA-less core promoter is essential for haploid-specific gene expression in mouse testis.

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Department of Science for Laboratory Animal Experimentation, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Promoters, including neither TATA box nor initiator, have been frequently found in testicular germ cell-specific genes in mice. These investigations imply that unique forms of the polymerase II transcription initiation machinery play a role in selective activation of germ cell-specific gene expression programs during spermatogenesis. However, there is little information about testis-specific core promoters, because useful germ cell culture system is not available. In this study, we characterize the regulatory region of the haploid-specific Oxct2b gene in detail by using in vivo transient transfection assay in combination with a transgenic approach, with electrophoretic mobility shift and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Expression studies using mutant constructs demonstrate that a 34 bp region, which extends from -49 to -16, acts as a core promoter in an orientation-dependent manner. This promoter region includes the cAMP-responsive element (CRE)-like sequence TGACGCAG, but contains no other motifs, such as a TATA box or initiator. The CRE-like element is indispensable for the core promoter activity, but not for activator in testicular germ cells, through the binding of a testis-specific CRE modulator transcription factor. These results indicate the presence of alternative transcriptional initiation machinery for cell-type-specific gene expression in testicular germ cells.

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