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Characterizing exons 11 and 1 promoters of the mu opioid receptor (Oprm) gene in transgenic mice

Author(s): Xu Jin | Xu Mingming | Pan Ying-Xian

Journal: BMC Molecular Biology
ISSN 1471-2199

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 41;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Abstract Background The complexity of the mouse mu opioid receptor (Oprm) gene was demonstrated by the identification of multiple alternatively spliced variants and promoters. Our previous studies have identified a novel promoter, exon 11 (E11) promoter, in the mouse Oprm gene. The E11 promoter is located ~10 kb upstream of the exon 1 (E1) promoter. The E11 promoter controls the expression of nine splice variants in the mouse Oprm gene. Distinguished from the TATA-less E1 promoter, the E11 promoter resembles a typical TATA-containing eukaryote class II promoter. The aim of this study is to further characterize the E11 and E1 promoters in vivo using a transgenic mouse model. Results We constructed a ~20 kb transgenic construct in which a 3.7 kb E11 promoter region and an 8.9 kb E1 promoter region controlled expression of tau/LacZ and tau/GFP reporters, respectively. The construct was used to establish a transgenic mouse line. The expression of the reporter mRNAs, determined by a RT-PCR approach, in the transgenic mice during embryonic development displayed a temporal pattern similar to that of the endogenous promoters. X-gal staining for tau/LacZ reporter and GFP imaging for tau/GFP reporter showed that the transgenic E11 and E1 promoters were widely expressed in various regions of the central nervous system (CNS). The distribution of tau/GFP reporter in the CNS was similar to that of MOR-1-like immunoreactivity using an exon 4-specific antibody. However, differential expression of both promoters was observed in some CNS regions such as the hippocampus and substantia nigra, suggesting that the E11 and E1 promoters were regulated differently in these regions. Conclusion We have generated a transgenic mouse line to study the E11 and E1 promoters in vivo using tau/LacZ and tau/GFP reporters. The reasonable relevance of the transgenic model was demonstrated by the temporal and spatial expression of the transgenes as compared to those of the endogenous transcripts. We believe that these transgenic mice will provide a useful model for further characterizing the E11 and E1 promoter in vivo under different physiological and pathological circumstances such as chronic opioid treatment and chronic pain models.
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