Transgenic and transcriptional studies on neurosecretory cell gene expression

S J Waller, A Ratty, J P Burbach, D Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


1. Studies of the regulation of neurosecretory cell gene expression suffer from the lack of suitable cell lines. Two approaches have been used to overcome this deficit: transfection of neuropeptide genes into heterologous cell lines and generation of transgenic animals. 2. Studies with heterologous cell lines have revealed the potential involvement of nuclear hormone receptors, POU proteins, and fos/jun/ATF family members in the regulation of the vasopressin and oxytocin genes. Although limited in their scope, these studies have contributed greatly to the dissection of basic properties of elements in the vasopressin and oxytocin gene promoters. 3. Transgenic mice, and more recently rats, have been used to elucidate genomic regions governing cell specificity and physiological regulation of neurosecretory gene expression. The genes encoding the neuropeptides vasopressin and oxytocin have been used in many transgenic studies, due to the well-defined expression patterns and physiology of the endogenous neuropeptides. Cell-specific and physiologically regulated expression of these transgenes has been achieved, demonstrating the action of putative repressor elements and regulation of the expression of one gene by sequences present in the other gene. 4. Appropriate expression and translation of transgenes have resulted in the production of several useful systems. Expression of oncogene sequences in gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons has allowed the development of cell lines from the resulting tumors, overproduction of corticotropin-releasing factor has produced animal models of anxiety and obesity, and directed ectopic expression of growth hormone has generated a potentially useful rat model of dwarfism. These and other animal models of human disease will provide important avenues for the development of therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-71
Number of pages23
JournalCellular and Molecular Neurobiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1998


  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Cell Line
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Neurosecretory Systems
  • Oxytocin
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Vasopressins


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