A nucleotide sequence essential for the function of DRE, a common promoter element for Drosophila DNa replication-related genes.

Abstract:

Promoter regions of the Drosophila proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) gene and the DNA polymerase alpha 180-kDa catalytic subunit gene contain a common 8 base pair (bp) promoter element, 5'-TATCGATA (DRE, Drosophila DNA replication-related element). We have generated various base substitutions and internal deletions in and around DRE (nucleotide positions -93 to -100 with respect to the transcription initiation site) of the PCNA gene in vitro and subsequently examined their effects on the binding to DREF (DRE-binding factor) and PCNA gene promote activity in cultured Drosophila Kc cells as well as in living flies. Gel mobility shift assays using nuclear extracts of Kc cells with and without competitor DNA fragments carrying the mutations indicated that the 10-bp sequence from positions -91 to -100 is essential for complex formation with DREF. Transient expression assays of chloramphenicol acetyl-transferase (CAT) in Kc cells transfected with PCNA promoter-CAT fusion genes carrying the mutations revealed that the 8-bp sequence from -93 to -100 is essential for activation of the promoter in Kc cells. Examination of lacZ expression from PCNA promoter-lacZ fusion genes carrying the mutations, introduced into flies by germ-line transformation, revealed that the 8-bp sequence is also important for DRE function during development. However, we obtained two exceptional mutations in the 8-bp sequence that did not or only marginally affected the PCNA gene promoter activity in transgenic flies. Both of these mutations effectively reduced the promoter activity in CAT transient expression assay in Kc cells and the binding to DREF in vitro. Therefore, the 8-bp sequence requirement for DRE function appears to be less stringent in living flies than in the cultured cell or in vitro cases.

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