The human myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate (MARCKS) gene (MACS): Analysis of its gene product, promoter, and chromosomal localization

David M. Harlan, Jonathan M. Graff, Deborah J. Stumpo, Roger L. Eddy, Thomas B. Shows, John M. Boyle, Perry J. Blackshear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The expression of a major cellular substrate for protein kinase C, the MARCKS protein, is regulated in a cell-, tissue-, and developmental stage-specific fashion; in addition, this expression can be stimulated acutely by various cytokines in certain cell types. We have begun to characterize the human gene in order to elucidate the genetic elements responsible for this highly regulated expression. We first cloned a human MARCKS cDNA, which encoded a predicted protein of 332 amino acids (M(r) 31,600) that was approximately 89, 74, and 59% identical to the bovine, mouse, and chicken proteins, respectively. Regions conserved at the amino acid level included the amino-terminal myristoylation consensus sequence, the site of intron splicing, and the phosphorylation site domain. The human cDNA was used to demonstrate that tumor necrosis factor-α could rapidly stimulate MARCKS gene transcription in the human promyelocytic leukemia cell line HL60. Genomic clones were then isolated; sequence analysis identified a putative promoter region that had no TATA box and contained multiple transcription initiation sites in a region spanning 57 base pairs (bp). This was followed by a 5'-untranslated region of approximately 400 bp, which displayed a complex predicted secondary structure with a ΔG of -73.4 kcal/mol. Plasmid constructions containing between 52 and 1453 bp of the human MARCKS promoter linked to the human growth hormone gene were then used in transient expression experiments. Constructions containing 52 and 110 bp of the MARCKS promoter did not exhibit promoter function while the larger constructions all exhibited promoter function; the 248-bp fragment of the MARCKS promoter was 80% as effective as the human ferritin promoter in stimulating expression of human growth hormone in intact cells. Using an insert from the human genomic clone as a probe, we identified human chromosome 6, q21-qter, as the location of the MARCKS gene; this has been assigned the gene symbol MACS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14399-14405
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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