The NGFI-A gene encodes a 'zinc-finger' protein that is rapidly induced by nerve growth factor (NGF) in PC12 rat pheochromocytoma cells. The complete exon/intron organization and nucleotide sequence of the rat NGFI-A gene have been determined. The gene spans 3789 nucleotides (nt) and is interrupted by a single intron at nt 588. All three zinc-finger DNA-binding domains are contiguously coded for within the 3' exon; this is in contrast to the structure described by others for the Xenopus laevis transcription factor TFIIIA gene. To analyze the transcription of this gene, we have determined the transcription start site and nucleotide sequence of the 5' flanking region. Transfection of PC12 cells with a fragment from the 5' flanking region linked to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene revealed that it contains an element which imparts an NGF-inducible phenotype to the normally silent CAT gene. Several regions with homologies to recognizable sequence elements are present in this fragment, including a TATA box at nt -27, serum response elements at nt -84, -106, -370, and -408, a cAMP-responsive element at nt -140, and a transcription factor Sp1-binding site at nt -286. These results establish the genomic structure of this mammalian multifinger protein and demonstrate that an NGF-responsive element lies upstream of the NGFI-A gene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-381
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989


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