Muscle-specific expression of the cardiac α-actin gene requires MyoD1, CArG-box binding factor, and Spl

Vittorio Sartorelli, Keith A. Webster, Larry Kedes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

231 Scopus citations


Expression of the human cardiac α-actin gene (HCA) depends on the interactions of multiple transcriptional regulators with promoter elements. We report here that the tissue-specific expression of this promoter is determined by the simultaneous interaction of at least three specific protein-DNA complexes. The myogenic determinant gene MyoD1 activated the transcription of transfected HCA-CAT promoter constructs in nonmuscle cells, including CV-1 and HeLa cells. Gel mobility-shift and footprinting assays revealed that MyoD1 specifically interacted with a single consensus core sequence, CANNTG, at -50. Previously characterized sites interact with a protein identical with or related to the serum response factor (SRF) at -100 and Spl at -70. All three elements must be intact to support transcription in muscle cells: site-specific mutation within any one of these three elements eliminated transcriptional expression by the promoter. Furthermore, expression of the promoter in embryonic Drosophila melanogaster cells that lack MyoD1 and Sp1 is strictly dependent on all three sites remaining intact and on the presence of exogenously supplied Spl and MyoD1. These experiments suggest that the presence of three sequence-specific binding proteins, including MyoD1, and their intact target DNA sequences are minimal requirements for muscle-specific expression of the HCA gene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1811-1822
Number of pages12
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Differentiation
  • Muscle
  • MyoD1
  • Scrum response factor
  • Spl cardiac actin
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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