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Keywords:

  • AP-1 response element;
  • enhancer;
  • gene expression;
  • myelin proteolipid protein gene

Abstract

The myelin proteolipid protein (Plp) gene is expressed in oligodendrocytes and encodes the most abundant protein found in mature CNS myelin. Expression of the gene is dynamic and peaks during the active myelination period of CNS development. The surge in Plp gene activity during this period has been purported to be mediated by a positive regulatory region located within the first intron. This region, designated ASE for antisilencer/enhancer, is located approximately 1 kb downstream of exon 1 sequences and encompasses nearly 100 bp. However, neither the critical nucleotides within this region, nor the associated DNA-binding proteins have been identified. In the present study, DNase I footprinting analysis demonstrated widespread protection of the region on both the coding and non-coding strands suggesting that multiple transcription factors are likely involved. Targeting of putative DNA-protein binding sites contained within the ASE by gel shift, transfection and mutagenesis studies revealed the importance of several AP-1-like binding sites in governing high levels of Plp gene expression in oligodendrocytes. Our results suggest that factors, which bind to these sites, form the core of a multiprotein complex that assembles on the ASE and ultimately affects the temporal regulation of the gene in oligodendrocytes.