Functional Screening of Core Promoter Activity

Methods Mol Biol. 2017;1651:77-91. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7223-4_7.


The core promoter is the DNA sequence that recruits the basal transcription machinery and directs accurate initiation of transcription. It is an active contributor to gene expression that can be rationally designed to manipulate the levels of expression. Core promoter function can be analyzed using different experimental approaches. Here, we describe the qualitative and quantitative analysis of engineered core promoter functions using the EGFP reporter gene that is driven by distinct core promoters. Expression plasmids are transfected into different mammalian cell lines, and the resulting fluorescence is monitored by live cell imaging , as well as by flow cytometry. In order to verify that the transcriptional activity of the examined core promoters is indeed a function of their activity, as opposed to differences in DNA uptake, real-time quantitative PCR analysis is performed. Importantly, the described methodology for functional screening of core promoter activity has enabled the analysis of engineered potent core promoters for extended time periods.

Keywords: Core promoter elements; Engineered promoters; FACS analysis; Live cell imaging; Reporter gene analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • DNA / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Fluorescent Dyes / analysis*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Genes, Reporter*
  • Genes, erbB-1
  • Genetic Engineering / methods
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / analysis*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Optical Imaging / methods
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Transfection / methods


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • DNA