Abstract

Regulation of transcription of the human insulin gene appears to involve a series of DNA sequences in the 5'region. Hypersensitivity to DNA structural probes has previously been demonstrated in regulatory regions of cloned genomic DNA fragments, and been correlated with gene activity. To investigate the structure of the DNA in the human insulin gene, bromoacetaldehyde and S1 nuclease were reacted with a supercoiled plasmid containing a 5kb genomic insulin fragment. Both probes revealed the human insulin gene linked polymorphic region (1LPR), a region (-363) upstream of the transcriptional start site which contains multiple repeats of a 14–15mer oligonucleotide with the consensus sequence ACAGGGGT(G/C)(T/C)GGGG, as the major hypersensitive site. Fine mapping and electron microscopic analysis both show a very different behaviour of the two DNA strands in the region of the ILPR and suggest the G-rich strand may be adopting a highly structured conformation with the complementary strand remaining largely single stranded.

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