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

Thyroid hormone regulates expression of a transfected alpha-myosin heavy-chain fusion gene in fetal heart cells.

In ventricular muscle, 3,5,3'-triiodo-L-thyronine (T3) stimulates the expression of the alpha-myosin heavy-chain (alpha-MHC) gene. To test for gene elements required for induction, a fragment of the alpha-MHC gene containing 2.9 kilobases of 5' flanking sequences and 420 base pairs of DNA 3' to the transcription initiation site was linked to the coding sequences of the bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene. The alpha-MHC fusion gene was introduced into primary cultures of fetal rat heart myocytes. Induction of the transfected gene was monitored by assaying CAT activity while endogenous alpha-MHC mRNA expression was measured by using a synthetic oligonucleotide probe complementary to sequences in the 3' untranslated region of the mRNA. Without T3, CAT activity was only slightly greater than background. When T3 at a final concentration of 10 nM was added to the cultures, CAT activity was increased 8-fold by 48 hr. The response time and doses of T3 required for induction of CAT activity and alpha-MHC mRNA in transfected cells were similar, suggesting that the synthetic and endogenous genes may have a common mechanism of control. When simian virus 40 enhancer and early promoter sequences were included in the construct, CAT activity was constitutively expressed, but it could be increased 7-fold by the addition of T3. Several deletions were introduced into the 5' flanking sequences of the alpha-MHC fragment and the effects on induction of CAT activity were examined. Progressive deletions of 5' sequences from positions -947 to -374 reduced but did not eliminate induction of CAT activity, suggesting that more than one region may be required for optimal induction by thyroid hormone. The results indicate that DNA sequences required for efficient induction by T3 are present in the 5' flanking sequences of the alpha-MHC gene.[1]


  1. Thyroid hormone regulates expression of a transfected alpha-myosin heavy-chain fusion gene in fetal heart cells. Gustafson, T.A., Markham, B.E., Bahl, J.J., Morkin, E. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1987) [Pubmed]
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