The glycoprotein macrosialin is expressed specifically in murine monocytes and macrophages. In the murine genome the macrosialin gene lies 877 bp 3' of the ubiquitously expressed elongation initiation factor 4A1 (elF- 4AI) gene on chromosome 11. The macrosialin gene promoter directs high-level expression in transiently transfected murine macrophage cell lines, but significant levels of expression are seen in nonmacrophage cell lines. The first intron of the gene encoding the human homologue of macrosialin, CD68, directs macrophage-specific expression when cloned downstream of the human CD68 gene promoter. Despite sharing extensive sequence homology with the human CD68 gene first intron, the murine macrosialin gene first intron does not act as a macrophage-specific enhancer when cloned downstream of the human CD68 or murine macrosialin promoters. We conclude that the genetic elements that are responsible for macrophage-specific gene expression are organized differently in the murine and human CD68 genes.
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