Differential promoter activity in benign and malignant human cells of skin origin

Exp Dermatol. 1995 Oct;4(5):317-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.1995.tb00212.x.


In order to develop systems to express mammalian proteins in human skin-derived cells, we tested 6 different viral and 1 eukaryotic promoter (pCMV, pRSV, pSV, pMMTV, pPoly E, pPoly L, pHMT) for their ability to drive the expression of the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) enzyme in different human skin-derived cells. DNA was transfected in human keratinocytes derived from normal foreskin and cervix, in the HPV-negative cervical cancer line HT-3 and in malignant melanoma cell lines (SK-Mel 23, SK-Mel 37) using a liposome-based technique or calcium precipitation. Transfection efficacy was controlled by cotransfection of a beta-galactosidase gene construct. The enzymatic activity of the CAT-gene expression was determined by incubation of the cell extract prepared from the transfected cells with 14 C-labeled chloramphenicol. The CMV-promoter was highly active in all skin- or mucosal-derived cells. In contrast to the strong CMV-promoter, the RSV-, SV-, and HMT-promoter were less active and varied in dependence of the cell type. The pattern of the promoter activity differed between benign and transformed genital keratinocytes. Only the SV-promoter showed a comparable strong basal activity, which was restricted to the SK-Mel 37 cells. In conclusion, the promoter activity has to be tested for each cell type depending on the aims of the gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Reference Values
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Viruses / growth & development


  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase