The sCMV IE enhancer/promoter system for high-level expression and efficient functional studies of target genes in mammalian cells and zebrafish

Biotechnol Lett. 2011 Jul;33(7):1319-26. doi: 10.1007/s10529-011-0589-5. Epub 2011 Mar 19.


Human and simian cytomegalovirus immediate-early (IE) enhancer/promoter (hCMVp and sCMVp) are the most widely used system for high-level gene expression; however, studies on detailed comparative analyses of the promoters are scarce. Using GFP reporter gene and immunoblotting assays, we have shown that the transcriptional activity of sCMVp was two to four fold higher than those of hCMVp in human-, monkey-, mouse-originated cell lines, and zebrafish as a vertebrate animal model. Notably, HtrA1 driven by the sCMVp induced cell death at relatively high-levels in HEK293 cells, but HtrA1 driven by the hCMVp had almost no effect on cell death, as shown by more than 4-fold increase in the expression levels of HtrA1. Our data may provide a valuable tool for functional studies of target genes that are expressed at extreme low level under standard transfection conditions and for development of new gene therapeutic systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cytomegalovirus / genetics
  • Gene Expression*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Mice
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Zebrafish / genetics


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins