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Keywords:

  • enhancer;
  • myelin proteolipid protein;
  • gene regulation;
  • intron;
  • oligodendrocytes

Abstract

The myelin proteolipid protein (Plp) gene is expressed in oligodendrocytes and encodes the most abundant protein (∼50%) present in mature myelin from the central nervous system (CNS). Plp gene activity is low to nonexistent early in development but sharply increases, concurrently with the active myelination period of CNS development. Work from our laboratory suggests that the temporal regulation of Plp gene expression in mice is mediated by a positive regulatory element located within Plp intron 1 DNA. We have termed this regulatory element/region ASE (for antisilencer/enhancer). The ASE is situated approximately 1 kb downstream of exon 1 DNA and encompasses nearly 100 bp. To understand the mechanisms by which the ASE augments Plp gene expression in oligodendrocytes, Plp-lacZ constructs were generated and transfected into a mouse oligodendroglial cell line (N20.1). Results presented here demonstrate that upstream regulatory elements in the Plp promoter/5′-flanking DNA are not required for ASE activity; the ASE worked perfectly well when the thymidine kinase (TK) promoter was substituted for the Plp promoter. However, the relative location of the ASE appears to be important. When placed upstream of 2.4 kb of Plp 5′-flanking DNA, or downstream of the lacZ expression cassette, the ASE was no longer effective. Thus, the ASE might have to be in the context of the intron in order to function. To begin to identify the crucial nucleotides within the ASE, orthologous sequences from rat, human, cow, and pig Plp genes were swapped for the mouse sequence. Results presented here demonstrate that the orthologous sequence from rat can substitute for the mouse ASE, unlike those from human, cow, or pig. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.