Molecular mechanisms of chondrocyte-specific expression on the mouse pro(alpha)1(II) collagen gene

Guang Zhou, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Type II collagen is a major chondrocyte-specific component of the cartilage extracellular matrix and it represents a typical differentiation marker of mature chondrocytes. In order to delineate cis-acting elements of the mouse pro$\alpha1$(II) collagen gene that control chondrocyte-specific expression in intact mouse embryos, we generated transgenic mice harboring chimeric constructions in which varying lengths of the promoter and intron 1 sequences were linked to a $\beta$-galactosidase reporter gene. A construction containing a 3000-bp promoter and a 3020-bp intron 1 fragment directed high levels of $\beta$-galactosidase expression specifically to chondrocytes. Successive deletions of intron 1 delineated a 48-bp fragment which targeted $\beta$-galactosidase expression to chondrocytes with the same specificity as the larger intron 1 fragment. When the Col2a1 promoter was replaced with a minimal $\beta$-globin promoter, the 48-bp intron 1 sequence was still able to target expression of the transgene to chondrocytes, specifically. Therefore a 48-bp intron 1 DNA segment of the mouse Col2a1 gene contains the necessary information to confer high-level, temporally correct, chondrocyte expression to a reporter gene in intact mouse embryos and that Col2a1 promoter sequences are dispensable for chondrocyte expression. Nuclear proteins present selectively in mouse primary chondrocytes and rat chondrosarcoma cells bind to the three putative HMG (High-Mobility-Group) domain protein binding sites in this 48-bp sequence and the chondrocyte-specific proteins likely bind the DNA through minor groove. Together, my results indicate that a 48-bp sequence in Col2a1 intron 1 controls chondrocyte-specific expression in vivo and suggest that chondrocytes contain specific nuclear proteins involved in enhancer activity.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Anatomy & physiology|Animals

Recommended Citation

Zhou, Guang, "Molecular mechanisms of chondrocyte-specific expression on the mouse pro(alpha)1(II) collagen gene" (1997). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9732779.