• gene silencing;
  • mammalian expression system;
  • matrix attachment region;
  • positional effect

Previous work has shown that the MAR (matrix attachment region) could increase transgene expression in stably transfected CHO (Chinese-hamster ovary) cells. To study the positional effect of MAR on transgene expression, three expression vectors were constructed which contained the human β-globin MAR in different sites, including the vector with two MARs flanking the CAT (chloramphenicol acetyltransferase) expression cassette, one MAR at the 5′ or 3′ site. These vectors were transfected into CHO cells. The level of CAT gene expression was most effectively increased by two MARs flanking the CAT expression cassette. This increase was also seen when MAR was inserted at the 5′ site upstream of the expression cassette, whereas the transgene expression level decreased when MAR was inserted at the 3′ site downstream of the expression cassette. We have also shown that the transgene expression level is not directly proportional to the gene copy number, and gene copy number dependency does not exist.