Journal article

The Fugu rubripes tyrosinase gene promoter targets transgene expression to pigment cells in the mouse

The regulation of the mouse tyrosinase gene expression is controlled by a highly conserved element at -100 bp, the M-box, and an enhancer at -12 kb. In most vertebrates, the length of intergenic sequences makes it difficult to analyze the whole gene and the complete regulatory region. We took advantage of the compact Fugu genome to identify regulatory regions involved in pigment cell-specific expression. We isolated the Fugu tyrosinase gene, and identified putative cis-acting regulatory elements within the promoter. We then asked whether the Fugu promoter sequence functions in mouse pigment cells. We showed that E11.5 transgenic embryos bearing 6 kb or 3 kb of Fugu tyrosinase 5' sequence fused to the reporter gene lacZ revealed melanoblast and RPE-specific expression. This is the first evidence that the tyrosinase promoter is active at midgestation in melanoblasts, long before the onset of pigmentation.


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