A complex array of positive and negative elements regulates the chicken αA-crystallin gene: Involvement of Pax-6, USF, CREB and/or CREM, and AP-1 proteins

Aleš Cvekl, Christina M. Sax, Emery H. Bresnick, Joram Piatigorsky

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124 Scopus citations


The abundance of crystallins (>80% of the soluble protein) in the ocular lens provides advantageous markers for selective gene expression during cellular differentiation. Here we show by functional and protein-DNA binding experiments that the chicken αA-crystallin gene is regulated by at least five control elements located at sites A (-148 to -139), B (-138 to -132), C (-128 to -101), D (-102 to -93), and E (-56 to -41). Factors interacting with these sites were characterized immunologically and by gel mobility shift experiments. The results are interpreted with the following model. Site A binds USF and is part of a composite element with site B. Site B binds CREB and/or CREM to enhance expression in the lens and binds an AP-1 complex including CREB, Fra2 and/or JunD which interacts with USF on site A to repress expression in fibroblasts. Sites C and E (which is conserved across species) bind Pax-6 in the lens to stimulate αA-crystallin promoter activity. These experiments provide the first direct data that Pax-6 contributes to the lens-specific expression of a crystallin gene. Site D (- 104 to -93) binds USF and is a negative element. Thus, the data indicate that USF, CREB and/or CREM (or AP-1 factors), and Pax-6 bind a complex array of positive and negative cis-acting elements of the chicken αA-crystallin gene to control high expression in the lens and repression in fibroblasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7363-7376
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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