To investigate the function of a cloned gene, inducible enhancer/promoters are preferred for controlling the level of expression experimentally. Highly inducible gene expression systems with both low basal levels and enhanced maximal levels of expression are especially sought. We have developed a new expression system using a positive feedback mechanism. Glucocorticoid receptor cDNA was fused to the enhancer/promoter of mouse mammary tumor virus (MTV) to induce receptor production. Simultaneous introduction of this receptor plasmid into mouse Ltk− cells augmented the expresion of the reporter gene linked with the MTV enhancer/promoter by 10- to 100-fold in an induced state, but did not significantly change the expression of that in an uninduced state. This novel system of gene expression is a good candidate for an efficient genetic switch.
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