Myosin light chain-2 luciferase transgenic mice reveal distinct regulatory programs for cardiac and skeletal muscle-specific expression of a single contractile protein gene.
To examine the relationship between the cardiac and skeletal muscle gene programs, the current study employs the regulatory (phosphorylatable) myosin light chain (MLC-2) as a model system. Northern blotting, primer extension, and RNase protection studies documented the high level expression of the cardiac MLC-2 mRNA in both mouse cardiac and slow skeletal muscle (soleus). Transgenic mouse lines harboring a 2100- or a 250-base pair rat cardiac MLC-2 promoter/luciferase fusion gene were generated, demonstrating high levels of luciferase activity in cardiac muscle, and only background luminescence in slow skeletal muscle and non-muscle tissues. As assessed by in situ hybridization, immunofluorescence, and luminescence assays of luciferase reporter activity in various regions of the heart, both the endogenous MLC-2 gene and the MLC-2 luciferase fusion gene were expressed exclusively in the ventricular compartment, with expression in the atrium at background levels. Point mutations within the conserved regulatory sites HF-1a and HF-1b significantly cripple ventricular muscle specificity, while mutation of the single E-box site was without effect, suggesting that ventricular muscle-specific expression occurs through an E-box-independent pathway. This study provides direct evidence that the cis regulatory sequences in the cardiac/slow twitch MLC-2 gene which confer cardiac and skeletal muscle-specific expression can be clearly segregated, suggesting that distinct regulatory programs may have evolved to control the tissue-specific expression of this single contractile protein gene in cardiac and skeletal muscle.
Lee, KJ; Ross, RS; Rockman, HA; Harris, AN; O'Brien, TX; van Bilsen, M; Shubeita, HE; Kandolf, R; Brem, G; Price, J
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