We produced transgenic mice carrying a fusion gene (TTP-5) consisting of a 5.2-kbp segment of the 5′ flanking sequence of the human thyrotropin βsubunit (TSHβ) gene linked to the simian virus 40 large T antigen (SVT) gene. These mice developed pituitary tumors 6 months after birth and wasted away. With the 5.2-kbp TSHβ 5′ flanking region governing SVT expression, SVT mRNA was present in the pituitary and testis but not in other tissues, as detected by the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Histological and immunohistochemical analyses showed that the pituitary tumors of the transgenic mice were composed of moderately differentiated pituitary cells that expressed TSH, growth hormone, and prolactin. These results indicate that the 5.2-kbp segment of the human TSHβ 5′ regulatory region is sufficient to drive expression of SVT and induce tumorigenesis of hormone-producing pituitary cells in transgenic mice.
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