Negative and Positive cis-Acting Elements Control the Expression of Murine α1-Protease Inhibitor Genes

K. T. Montgomery, J. Tardiff, L. M. Reid, K. S. Krauter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The α1-protease inhibitor (α1-PI) proteins of mice are encoded by a group of genes whose members are expressed coordinately in a liver-abundant pattern and are regulated primarily at the transcriptional level. To better understand the developmental and tissue-specific regulation of this gene family, one member that is analogous to the human α1-antitrypsin gene was chosen for study. Deletional analysis of the upstream regulatory region of this gene was performed, spanning from -10 kilobases to -80 base pairs relative to the transcriptional start site. Two functional positive cis-acting elements within the 522 bases immediately upstream of the start site for transcription were shown to modulate the level of expression from this promoter when introduced into human or mouse hepatoma cells, and a third region acted as a negative regulatory element in that its deletion resulted in a two- to sixfold increase of expression of a transfected minigene construct. Sequence comparison between the regulatory domains of two mouse α1-PI genes and the human α1-antitrypsin gene showed that the mouse gene contains a novel positive cis-acting element which is absent in human gene and that a specific eight-base-pair difference between species results in a strong positive cis-acting element in the human gene acting as a negative element in the mouse gene. An enhancer located ∼3,000 base pairs upstream of the major start site for transcription was also identified. This element is position and orientation independent. Several different DNA-protein binding assays were used to demonstrate that each DNA segment with functional significance in transfection assays interacts specifically with proteins found in adult mouse liver nuclei. The major positive-acting element appeared to be specifically recognized by nuclear proteins found only in tissues that express α1-PI, while the negative element binding proteins were ubiquitous. Thus, the distal regulatory domain including bases -3500 to -133 of this murine α1-PI gene family member is more complex than was previously demonstrated. It is composed of a set of at least three additional functional cis-acting regulatory elements besides those which have been mapped by others and has a far upstream enhancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2625-2637
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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