A small region of the mouse mammary tumor virus long terminal repeat confers glucocorticoid hormone regulation on a linked heterologous gene
Mammary Tumor Virus, Mouse
Expression of mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) proviruses is transcriptionally regulated by glucocorticoid hormones. We have linked the MMTV long terminal repeat (LTR) to the coding region of the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene and used this construction to characterize sequences within the LTR that are involved in glucocorticoid regulation. Our results show that 290 base pairs (bp) of the MMTV LTR, including 190 bp upstream from the start site for transcription, are sufficient to confer regulation on the downstream gene. Deletion of an additional 50 bp, leaving sequences from position -140 to +100, eliminates the response. However, the constitutive level of expression is maintained even after deletion of sequences upstream from position -80, indicating that sequences required for the hormone response can be distinguished from those required for basal expression. We also have shown, by making a 4-bp insertion or a 20-bp deletion around position -107, that the distance between the putative signal for hormone response and the start site of transcription can be varied without affecting regulation. Furthermore, replacement of MMTV sequences from position -59 to +100 with analogous sequences from the Rous sarcoma virus LTR does not change the regulation.