The major immediate-early promoter (MIEP) of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) constitutes a primary genetic switch for viral activation. In this study, regulation of the enhancer-containing segment (nucleotides -670 to +54) of the HCMV MIEP attached to the lacZ reporter gene was examined in the developing embryos of transgenic mice to identify temporal and tissue- specific expression. We find that the transgene reporter is first detected as a dorsal stripe of expression in the neural folds of embryos at day 8.5 postcoitum (p.c.). A broad expression pattern is exhibited in embryos at day 9.5 p.c. This pattern becomes more restricted by day 10.5 p.c. as organogenesis progresses. By day 14.5 p.c., prominent expression is observed in a subpopulation of central nervous system cells and spinal ganglia, endothelial cells, muscle, skin, thyroid, parathyroid, kidney, lung, liver, and gut cells, and the pancreas and submandibular and pituitary glands. This distribution pattern is discussed in relation to human congenital HCMV infection. These results suggest that the transcriptional activity of the HCMV MIEP may determine in part, the ability of the virus to specifically target developing fetal tissues in utero.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science