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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A mammary cell-specific enhancer in mouse mammary tumor virus DNA is composed of multiple regulatory elements including binding sites for CTF/NFI and a novel transcription factor, mammary cell-activating factor.

Mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) is a milk-transmitted retrovirus involved in the neoplastic transformation of mouse mammary gland cells. The expression of this virus is regulated by mammary cell type-specific factors, steroid hormones, and polypeptide growth factors. Sequences for mammary cell-specific expression are located in an enhancer element in the extreme 5' end of the long terminal repeat region of this virus. This enhancer, when cloned in front of the herpes simplex thymidine kinase promoter, endows the promoter with mammary cell-specific response. Using functional and DNA-protein-binding studies with constructs mutated in the MMTV long terminal repeat enhancer, we have identified two main regulatory elements necessary for the mammary cell-specific response. These elements consist of binding sites for a transcription factor in the family of CTF/NFI proteins and the transcription factor mammary cell- activating factor ( MAF) that recognizes the sequence G Pu Pu G C/G A A G G/T. Combinations of CTF/NFI- and MAF-binding sites or multiple copies of either one of these binding sites but not solitary binding sites mediate mammary cell-specific expression. The functional activities of these two regulatory elements are enhanced by another factor that binds to the core sequence ACAAAG. Interdigitated binding sites for CTF/NFI, MAF, and/or the ACAAAG factor are also found in the 5' upstream regions of genes encoding whey milk proteins from different species. These findings suggest that mammary cell-specific regulation is achieved by a concerted action of factors binding to multiple regulatory sites.[1]


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