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XB-ART-40207
PLoS One August 17, 2009; 4 (8): e6664.

Regulation of ALF promoter activity in Xenopus oocytes.

Li D , Raza A , DeJong J .


Abstract
BACKGROUND: In this report we evaluate the use of Xenopus laevis oocytes as a matched germ cell system for characterizing the organization and transcriptional activity of a germ cell-specific X. laevis promoter. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The promoter from the ALF transcription factor gene was cloned from X. laevis genomic DNA using a PCR-based genomic walking approach. The endogenous ALF gene was characterized by RACE and RT-PCR for transcription start site usage, and by sodium bisulfite sequencing to determine its methylation status in somatic and oocyte tissues. Homology between the X. laevis ALF promoter sequence and those from human, chimpanzee, macaque, mouse, rat, cow, pig, horse, dog, chicken and X. tropicalis was relatively low, making it difficult to use such comparisons to identify putative regulatory elements. However, microinjected promoter constructs were very active in oocytes and the minimal promoter could be narrowed by PCR-mediated deletion to a region as short as 63 base pairs. Additional experiments using a series of site-specific promoter mutants identified two cis-elements within the 63 base pair minimal promoter that were critical for activity. Both elements (A and B) were specifically recognized by proteins present in crude oocyte extracts based on oligonucleotide competition assays. The activity of promoter constructs in oocytes and in transfected somatic Xenopus XLK-WG kidney epithelial cells was quite different, indicating that the two cell types are not functionally equivalent and are not interchangeable as assay systems. CONCLUSIONS: Overall the results provide the first detailed characterization of the organization of a germ cell-specific Xenopus promoter and demonstrate the feasibility of using immature frog oocytes as an assay system for dissecting the biochemistry of germ cell gene regulation.

PubMed ID: 19684851
PMC ID: PMC2721981
Article link: PLoS One


Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: acta4 cyp26a1 drd1 gpm6b gtf2a1l krt62 tff3.7


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References [+] :
Blendy, Severe impairment of spermatogenesis in mice lacking the CREM gene. 1996, Pubmed