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J Biol Chem. 1998 Mar 20;273(12):6900-8.

The upstream regulatory regions of the hepatocyte growth factor gene promoter are essential for its expression in transgenic mice.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Division of Cellular and Molecular Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


To understand the molecular mechanisms of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) gene transcription in vivo, we report the generation and characterization of transgenic mice harboring various lengths of the mouse HGF promoter linked to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene. Analysis of different tissues of the transgenic mouse lines having the 2.7-kilobase (kb) promoter construct revealed a pattern of reporter gene expression in embryonic and adult tissues that paralleled that of endogenous HGF gene expression. A similar expression pattern was observed in the 0.7-kb transgenic lines. However, in contrast to in vitro data, no promoter activity was detected in four independent transgenic lines harboring the 0.1-kb construct. Akin to the activity of the endogenous HGF gene, which is induced in the liver, lung, and spleen in response to 70% partial hepatectomy, the reporter gene driven by the 2.7-kb promoter construct was strongly induced, whereas that driven by the 0.7-kb promoter construct was modestly induced in these organs after partial hepatectomy. Together, these data suggest that the region between -0.1 and -0.7 kb of the HGF gene promoter is essential to drive its expression in vivo and that additional upstream sequences located between -0.7 and -2.7 kb are also necessary for its maximum inducibility in response to cues that stimulate tissue growth and regeneration.

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