Telokin expression is mediated by a smooth muscle cell-specific promoter

B. Paul Herring, Aiping F. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


The carboxy terminus of the smooth muscle myosin light chain kinase (smMLCK) is expressed as an independent protein, telokin. Western and Northern blotting analyses demonstrated that telokin protein and mRNA are expressed at high levels only in adult and embryonic smooth muscle tissues and cells. In vitro transfection assays in A10 smooth muscle cells identified a functional promoter located in an intron in the 3' region of the smMLCK gene that directs the smooth muscle cell-specific transcription of telokin. To test the cell specificity of the telokin promoter in vivo, transgenic mice were generated in which the telokin promoter was used to drive expression of SV40 large T-antigen. Expression of T-antigen in the transgenic mice paralleled that of the endogenous telokin gene. High levels of T-antigen expression were observed in smooth muscle tissues of the digestive, urinary, and reproductive tracts, with lower levels of expression in airway and vascular smooth muscle. Expression was restricted to smooth muscle cells, with no expression detected in any other cell type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1656-C1665
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number6 39-6
StatePublished - Jun 1 1996


  • gene regulation
  • myosin light chain kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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