The specificity of the myelin basic protein gene promoter studied in transgenic mice

A. Asipu, A. L. Mellor, G. E. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The myelin basic proteins (MBPs) are a family of polypeptides that are predominantly expressed in the nervous system where they play a major role in myelination. We have generated four lines of transgenic mice carrying a transgene in which 1.34 kb of the 5′-flanking sequence of the mouse MBP gene was fused upstream of the coding region of the Escherichia coli lac Z gene in order to investigate developmental and tissue-specific expression of the MBP gene. Expression of both the lacZ transgene and the endogenous MBP gene followed a common developmental pattern in mouse brain. Transgene expression was detected in primary oligodendrocytes, but not in type 2 astrocytes. In addition, the lacZ gene product was expressed in epithelial cells of certain nonneural tissues, namely kidney, epididymis, ureter, and seminal vesicles. The ectopic expression of the transgene was associated with the development of DNase I hypersensitive sites at the site of insertion which was found to be within the intron 1 region of the endogenous MBP gene. The results reported here strongly suggest that the 1.34-kb 5′-flanking region of the MBP gene contains cis-regulatory elements that confer developmental regulation of the MBP gene, although this region appears to lack elements that restrict its expression to the nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-818
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 9 2001


  • Central nervous system
  • Ependymal cells
  • Epithelial cells
  • Myelin basic protein
  • Oligodendrocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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