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D Johnson, S Harrison, N Pineda, C Heinlein, R Al-Shawi, and J O Bishop


Three regions required for the expression of a mouse major urinary protein (MUP) transgene were identified by a deletion analysis. One of these was located upstream of the cap site between −2139 and −1800, another was the proximal promoter region downstream of −324 and the third lay within the 338 nucleotide intron 1. Both the proximal promoter and intron 1 are involved in sexually dimorphic expression of the transgene (male/female ratio 20), which is dictated by the different temporal profiles of circulating GH in the two sexes. The data also indicated that the region between exons 3 and 7 may contribute to full expression in males and that a region between −718 and −324 may contribute towards the low expression level that obtains in females, but compared with the three principal regions the effects of these regions are relatively minor. We propose (1) that full expression of the transgene requires the co-operation of transcription factors binding to the three principal regions and (2) that the difference in expression between the sexes relates to interactions between transcription factors bound to the proximal promoter and to sites in intron 1. Our results complement earlier in vitro footprinting and gel-retardation studies of the homologous rat α2u-globulin genes. These identified a number of response elements, including putative C/EBP and AP1 sites in the proximal promoter and intron 1 respectively and three putative ΨNF-1 sites, two in the proximal promoter and one in intron 1, but proof of the functionality of these sites in regulating transcription was lacking. The proximal promoter also contained a 34 nucleotide sequence that has 70% identity with the SPI GH response element.