Gradients of transgene expression directed by the human myoglobin promoter in the developing mouse heart

William J. Parsons, James A. Richardson, Kathy H. Graves, R. Sanders Williams, Randall W. Moreadith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Prior studies using transient transfection assays in cultured avian and murine skeletal myotubes indicate that the proximal 2-kb segment of the 5' flanking region of the human myoglobin gene contains transcriptional control elements sufficient to direct muscle-specific and developmentally regulated expression of reporter genes. To examine the function of the human myoglobin gene promoter during development of skeletal and cardiac myocytes in the intact animal, a 2.0-kb myoglobin gene upstream fragment was fused to an Escherichia coli lacZ reporter gene and injected into fertilized mouse oocytes. β-Galactosidase (β-gal) activity was detected selectively in cardiac and skeletal myocytes of fetal and adult transgenic mice. A distinctive spatial pattern of myoglobin promoter activity was observed in fetal hearts: β-gal staining was more pronounced within the left ventricular subendocardium than within the subepicardium and was essentially undetectable in the ventricular trabeculae or atria. Expression of endogenous myoglobin mRNA and protein, assessed by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, demonstrated a similar spatial pattern. In contrast, hearts from adult transgenic mice demonstrated essentially homogeneous expression of β-gal and of endogenous myoglobin mRNA and protein throughout the myocardium, including the trabeculae and atria. These data indicate that the 2.0-kb upstream region of the human myoglobin gene includes cis-acting regulatory elements sufficient to direct transgene expression during murine cardiac development that is myocyte-specific and responsive to positional cues in a similar manner to the endogenous myoglobin gene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1726-1730
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993


  • cardiac development
  • gene regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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