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

The beta-globin locus control region enhances transcription of but does not confer position-independent expression onto the lacZ gene in transgenic mice.

The beta-globin locus control region ( LCR) confers high levels of position-independent, copy number-dependent expression onto globin transgenes. Here > 40 independent transgenic mouse lines and founders that carried the LCR in cis with the beta-globin gene promoter driving a lacZ reporter gene were studied. Expression of the lacZ transgene was assayed by measuring beta-galactosidase enzyme activity in fetal liver extracts, the levels of which correlated with the quantity of lacZ mRNA determined using RNase protection assays. Unexpectedly, expression of the lacZ transgene was found to show strong position effects, varying as much as 700-fold per transgene copy. These position effects occurred even if the whole beta-globin gene was incorporated as part of the lacZ reporter gene. Moreover, DNase I-hypersensitive sites appeared in the transgene LCR in high expressing but not in low expressing lines, suggesting that the LCR itself was position dependent. In contrast, MEL cell clones, in which transcriptionally active integration sites were selected for, gave < 13-fold variation in expression per copy of an LCR-lacZ construct. These results show that the lacZ reporter affects the ability of the LCR to activate chromatin in mice and that culture cells are not an adequate model for position-independent gene expression studies.[1]


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