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A fragment of the Neurogenin1 gene confers regulated expression of a reporter gene in vitro and in vivo.


The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor neurogenin1 is required for proper nervous system development in vertebrates. It is expressed in neuronal precursors during embryonic development and is thought to play a role in specifying neuronal fate. To investigate the regulation of neurogenin1 expression, the transcriptional start site of the gene was identified and a 2.7-kb fragment ending in the first exon was shown to possess basal promoter activity. This 2.7-kb fragment was able to promote expression of reporter genes in P19 cells under conditions in which expression of endogenous neurogenin1 was induced. Importantly, the 2.7-kb fragment was able to drive expression of a lacZ reporter gene in transgenic mice in most tissues in which neurogenin1 is normally expressed, including those peripheral ganglia that fail to develop in neurogenin1 "knockout" mice. These findings identify a regulatory region containing elements responsible for appropriate expression of a gene with a crucial role in generating the vertebrate nervous system.

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