Analysis of an evolutionarily conserved distant regulatory region downstream of the Pax6 gene
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The evolutionarily conserved transcription factor Pax6 is crucial to the development of a variety of tissues including the central nervous system, the eyes and endocrine glands. It controls the expression of wide variety of factors including other transcription factors, cell-cell signaling molecules and cell adhesion molecules, thereby regulating important developmental processes such as cell proliferation, cell adhesion, migration and cell-signaling. Although, many of the downstream targets of Pax6 are known, the upstream regulators of Pax6 remain largely unknown. In this study, we have inve stigated the role and mechanism of a novel regulatory region (DRR), located 150 kb downstream to the Pax6 transcription unit. Analysis of the regulatory region indicates, that it is located in the intron of the housekeeping gene Elp4, which we show, is regulated by a TATA- less bidirectional promoter. Within the DRR, we have identified an enhancer element, which we propose acts on Pax6 but not on Elp4 due to promoter specificity.