Background: The erythroid transcription factor GATA-1 is also expressed in Sertoli cells of the testis. The testicular expression of GATA-1 is regulated in a developmental and spermatogenic stage-specific manner.To further clarify the regulatory mechanisms of testicular GATA-1 gene expression, we carried out transgenic reporter gene expression analyses. Results: We found that GATA-1 expression in Sertoli cells is markedly decreased concomitant with the emergence of elongated spermatids in the seminiferous tubules. Transgenic reporter mouse analyses revealed that a 15 kb GATA-1 genomic region is sufficient to recapitulate the gene expression profile in Sertoli cells. While the GATA-1 haematopoietic enhancer and the proximal first exon are included within the 15 kb genomic region, these regulatory elements are not essential for GATA-1 expression in Sertoli cells. Further analyses using deletion constructs revealed that a 1.5 kb region 5′ to the GATA-1 haematopoietic enhancer is essential for gene expression in Sertoli cells and this region is referred to as the GATA-1 testis activation region. Conclusion: These results thus demonstrated that the GATA-1 testis activation region is essential for Sertoli cell-specific expression of GATA-1 gene. The 15 kb genomic region is applicable and useful for the expression vector system specific for adult Sertoli cells in stage VII to IX.
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