Our laboratory has reported that two major noncollagenous dentin proteins, dentin sialoprotein and dentin phosphoprotein, are specific cleavage products of a larger precursor protein termed dentin sialophosphoprotein (MacDougall, M., Simmons, D., Luan, X., Nydegger, J., Fang, J. Q, and Gu, T. T. (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 272:835-842). To confirm our single gene hypothesis and initiate in vitro promoter studies, we have characterized the structural organization of the mouse dentin sialophosphoprotein gene. This gene has a transcription unit of ~9.4 kilobase pairs and is organized into 5 exons and 4 introns. Exon 1 contains a noncoding 5' sequence, and exon 2 contains the transcriptional start site, signal peptide, and first two amino acids of the NH2 terminus. Exons 3 and 4 contain coding information for 29 and 314 amino acids, respectively. The remainder of the coding information and the untranslated 3' region are contained in exon 5. Chromosomal mapping localized the gene to mouse chromosome 5q21 in close proximity to other dentin/bone matrix genes. Computer analysis of the promoter proximal 1.6-kilobase pair sequence revealed a number of potentially important cis-regulatory sequences; these include the recognition elements of AP-1, AP-2, Max-1, serum response elements, SP-1, and TCF-1. In vitro studies showed that the DSPP promoter is active in an odontoblast cell line, MO6-G3, with basal activity mapped to - 95 bp. Two potential enhancer and suppresser elements were identified in the regions between -1447 and -791 bp and -791 and -95 bp, respectively. The structural organization of the dentin sialophosphoprotein gene confirms our finding that both dentin sialoprotein and dentin phosphoprotein are encoded by a single gene with a continuous open reading frame.
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