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Published November 1987 | Published
Journal Article Open

Expression of transfected vimentin genes in differentiating murine erythroleukemia cells reveals divergent cis-acting regulation of avian and mammalian vimentin sequences


We studied the expression of transfected chicken and hamster vimentin genes in murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cells. MEL cells normally repress the levels of endogenous mouse vimentin mRNA during inducer-mediated differentiation, resulting in a subsequent loss of vimentin filaments. Expression of vimentin in differentiating MEL cells reflects the disappearance of vimentin filaments during mammalian erythropoiesis in vivo. In contrast, chicken erythroid cells express high levels of vimentin mRNA and vimentin filaments during terminal differentiation. We demonstrate here that chicken vimentin mRNA levels increase significantly in differentiating transfected MEL cells, whereas similarly transfected hamster vimentin genes are negatively regulated. In conjunction with in vitro nuclear run-on transcription experiments, these results suggest that the difference in vimentin expression in avian and mammalian erythropoiesis is due to a divergence of cis-linked vimentin sequences that are responsible for transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation of vimentin gene expression. Transfected chicken vimentin genes produce functional vimentin protein and stable vimentin filaments during MEL cell differentiation, further demonstrating that the accumulation of vimentin filaments is determined by the abundance of newly synthesized vimentin.

Additional Information

© 1987 by the American Society for Microbiology. Received 26 June 1987/Accepted 30 July 1987. We thank T. Enoch and T. Maniatis (Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.) for their gift of pSP64-γ-actin, L. Brunet (University of California at Los Angeles) for helpful suggestions on in vitro nuclear transcription experiments, and Z. Zehner (Medical College of Virginia, Richmond) for graciously providing chicken vimentin gene sequence data prior to their publication. This work was supported by a Public Health Service grant to E.L. from the National Institute on Aging. J.N. was supported by a Gordon Ross Medical Foundation predoctoral fellowship, and V.C.B. was supported by a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship.

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