The acid-labile subunit (ALS) of the ternary insulin-like growth factor-binding protein complex has a central role in controlling the bioavailability of circulating insulin-like growth factors. We have shown that gene expression of ALS is regulated by a number of factors, particularly growth hormone. Our aim was to characterize the ALS gene in order to define the mechanism of its regulation. Southern analysis suggests a single copy of the ALS gene in the rat genome. The protein-coding and 3'-untranslated regions span approximately 3.5 kilobases of rat genome and are divided into two exons. The 5' flanking region of the gene lacks a consensus TATA-box or Inr sequence, and primer extension and reverse transcriptase PCR experiments locate multiple transcriptional initiation sites between -505 and -385 nucleotides relative to the translational initiation codon. This putative promoter region, when inserted upstream of the luciferase reporter gene, directs luciferase expression when transfected into H4-II-E cells. Our data demonstrate the uncomplicated structure of the rat ALS gene, and the promoter function and presence of potential regulatory elements in the region upstream of the protein-coding sequence.
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