Proenkephalin transgenic mice: A short promoter confers high testis expression and reduced fertility

B. F. O'Hara, D. M. Donovan, I. Lindberg, M. T. Brannock, D. D. Ricker, C. A. Moffatt, B. A. Klaunberg, C. Schindler, T. S K Chang, R. J. Nelson, G. R. Uhl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The regulation and possible function of the preproenkephalin gene in testis were studied in vivo in transgenic mice containing: (1) bases -193 to +210 of the human proenkephalin gene and an additional one kilobase of 3' proenkephalin flanking sequence driving expression of bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CA1), and (2) the same promoter and flanking sequences driving expression of a rat proenkephalin cDNA. Five lines of mice, designated HEC1-5, expressed the first construct and 10, HER1-10, the second. Each HEC male and many HER males showed dramatic expression of the transgene in the testis, although much lower expression was observed in the brain and other enkephalin-producing tissues. High levels of expression in testis can thus be achieved with a very short promoter region and do not require intron. A sequences previously considered necessary. Altered enkephalin expression may affect testicular function. One founder, HER8, displayed grossly abnormal testicular morphology and was completely infertile. A second founder, HER6, had low sperm motility. Two offspring from other lines also displayed subnormal fertility. These studies support a role for specific promoter sequences in testis expression and may further support a significant role for proenkephalin in testicular function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-284
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994


  • Enkephalin gene
  • Infertility
  • Regulation
  • Spermatogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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