The expression of two serine proteases is induced by antigenic stimulation in cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Using nuclear run-on analysis the increase in steady state mRNA level has been shown to correspond to transcriptional activation. However, the two genes appear to be sequentially rather than coordinately induced. Both genes were shown to be more sensitive to DNase I digestion than a β-globin gene in cytotoxic T cells. In addition, for the cytotoxic cell protease 1 gene the 5′ region of the gene was more sensitive than the 3′ end. Two DNasel hypersensitive sites were seen in the 5′ flanking sequences of both genes. The DNA sequences of the upstream regions of both genes were determined and compared. Although the two flanking sequences are overall quite dissimilar, there are short regions which are shared between the two CTL-protease genes. A number of these have been implicated in regulating the expression of other T cell genes.
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