The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 42: 983 - 994 (1998)

Vol 42, Issue 7

Special Issue: Stem Cells and Transgenesis

Analysis of transcriptional regulatory regions in vivo

Published: 1 October 1998

R J MacDonald and G H Swift

Department of Molecular Biology and Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235-9140, USA.


Understanding the transcriptional regulation of development and tissue-specific gene expression is a central goal of modern biology. Although the analysis of gene transcription in transfected cultured cells has been essential in establishing many key aspects of this gene control, only analysis in animals can determine developmental timing and cell-specificity of expression within a complex organ and in all the tissues of an animal. The advent of transgenesis made in vivo studies possible. A summary of the in vivo regulatory properties of the pancreas-specific transcriptional enhancer of the rat elastase 1 gene (ELA1) and the role individual elements in this enhancer play in directing high level, cell-specific transcription illustrates the nature, revelations and limitations of transgenic analysis.

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