Identifying promoter elements necessary for enamelin tissue-specific expression.
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Enamel development requires the strictly regulated spatiotemporal expression of genes encoding enamel matrix proteins. The mechanisms orchestrating the initiation and termination of gene transcription at each specific stage of amelogenesis are unknown. In this study, we identify cis- regulatory regions necessary for normal enamelin (Enam) expression. Sequence analysis of the Enam promoter 5'-noncoding region identified potentially important cis-regulatory elements located within 5.2 kb upstream of the Enam translation initiation site. DNA constructs containing 5.2 or 3.9 kb upstream of the Enam translation initiation site were linked to an LacZ reporter gene and used to generate transgenic mice. The 3.9-kb Enam-LacZ transgenic lines showed no expression in ameloblasts, but ectopic LacZ staining was detected in osteoblasts. In contrast, the 5.2-kb Enam-LacZ construct was sufficient to mimic the endogenous Enam ameloblast-specific expression pattern. Our study provides new insights into the molecular control of Enam cell- and stage-specific expression.