Previously, we isolated Xenopus HGF (hepatocyte growth factor) cDNA and showed in Xenopus embryos that expression of this gene starts at the late gastrula stage mainly in the ventral mesoderm, and furthermore that the expression is induced in animal cap by activin A and bFGF (basic fibroblast growth factor). Here we have cloned the Xenopus HGF gene, covering a 14 kb 5'-upstream region and a 0.2 kb 5'-coding region. Within about 0.5 kb of the 5'-flanking region, the Xenopus HGF gene contained a TATA-like element AATGAAA, one putative NF-1 binding site, two NF-IL-6 binding motif sequences, one putative TGF-β-dependent inhibitory element (TIE) and one AP-1 binding site. A recombinant circular plasmid consisting of a 1.7 kb HGF promoter region and the bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene was first expressed at the late gastrula stage in the ventral mesoderm, as was the endogenous HGF gene. The expression of the fusion gene was induced in animal cap cells by activin A and bFGF although induction by the latter was not so strong. Using a series of 5'-deletion constructs introduced into animal caps, silencer elements, which seem to be essential for the gene's regionally correct expression, and the element responsible for induction by activin were found. The results show that the HGF gene promoter isolated here contains elements which may endow the gene with the regulative function for its temporally and spatially regulated expression, although the element necessary for induction by bFGF seems to be missing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology