Journal Article

Structural and Functional Characterization of the Mouse <i>Sox9</i> Promoter: Implications for Campomelic Dysplasia

Yoshiakira Kanai and Peter Koopman

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 8, issue 4, pages 691-696
Published in print April 1999 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online April 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
Structural and Functional Characterization of the Mouse Sox9 Promoter: Implications for Campomelic Dysplasia

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Mutations in SOX9 cause campomelic dysplasia (CD), a dominant skeletal dysmorphology and XY sex reversal syndrome. The CD phenotype is sensitive to dosage and expression levels of SOX9. Sox9 is expressed during chondrocyte differentiation and is up-regulated in male and down-regulated in female genital ridges during sex differentiation. In order to study the sex-and tissue-specific regulation of Sox9, we have defined the transcription start site and characterized the mouse Sox9 promoter region. The Sox9 proximal promoter shows moderately high nucleotide similarity between mouse and human. Transient transfection experiments using various deletion constructs of the 6.8 kb upstream region of mouse Sox9 fused to a luciferase reporter showed that the interval between 193 and 73 bp from the transcription start site is essential for maximal promoter activity in cell lines and in primary male and female gonadal somatic cells and liver cells isolated from 13.5 d.p.c. mouse embryos. This minimal promoter region was shown by DNase I hypersensitive site assay to be in an ‘open’ state of chromatin structure in gonads of both sexes, but not in the liver. Promoter activity was higher in testis than in ovary and liver, but deletion of the region from −193 to −73 bp abolished this difference. We conclude that the proximal promoter region is in part responsible for the sex- and tissue-specific expression of the Sox9 gene and that more distal positive and negative elements contribute to its regulation in vivo, consistent with the observation that translocations upstream from SOX9 can result in campomelic dysplasia.

Journal Article.  4143 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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