Transgenic mice have been generated that express the E. coli beta-galactosidase gene under the control of the promoter from the mouse heat-shock gene, hsp68. Sequences from −664 to +113 relative to the start of transcription of the hsp68 gene were sufficient to direct stress-induced expression of the beta-galactosidase gene in adult tail tissue and various tissues of fetal stages of development. Expression was detected in situ by staining with the chromogenic substrate, X-gal. The hybrid gene was refractory to induction in preimplantation embryos until the blastocyst stage of development, as reported for the endogenous hsp68 gene. No constitutive expression was observed by in situ staining or Northern analysis at any stage of development, even in tissues that constitutively express the endogenous hsp68 gene. We conclude that the hsp68 promoter region included in the construct contains sufficient sequence information for heat and arsenite inducibility, but it does not contain sequences controlling tissue-specific expression during development. This tightly regulated inducible promoter may provide a useful tool for short-term inducible gene expression in transgenic mice.

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