Tissue-specific and differentiation-specific expression of a human K14 keratin gene in transgenic mice

R. Vassar, M. Rosenberg, S. Ross, A. Tyner, E. Fuchs

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285 Scopus citations


A construct containing ≃2500 base pairs (bp) of 5' upstream and ≃700 bp of 3' downstream sequence was used to drive the expression of an intronless human K14 gene in vitro and in vivo. To track the expression of the gene, a small sequence encoding the antigenic portion of neuropeptide substance P was inserted in frame 5' to the TGA translation stop codon of the gene. Surprisingly, this gene was expressed promiscuously in a wide variety of cultured cells transiently transfected with the construct. In contrast, when introduced into the germ line of transgenic mice, the construct was expressed in a fashion analogues to the endogenous K14 gene - namely, in the basal layer of stratified squamous epithelia. Our results suggest that some regulatory mechanism is overridden as a consequence of transient transfection but that sequences that can control proper K14 expression are present in the construct. The appropriate tissue-specific and differentiation-specific expression of K14·P in transgenic mice is an important first step in characterizing a promoter that could be employed to drive the foreign expression of drug-related genes in the epidermis of skin grafts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1563-1567
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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