A cell-specific negative regulatory element has been identified in the first intron of the gene for elastin in a region between 442 and 464 bp from the translational start site. This regulatory element functions both when it is located 5′ of the promoter and 3′ of the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene. The inhibition is observed both with the homologous elastin promoter and the heterologous SV1 promoter in transient expression experiments using rat aortic smooth-muscle cells. No inhibition was observed with NIH 3T3, Hep G2 and little, if any, with HeLa cells. Cell specificity was further confirmed by DNA mobility shift assays and the position of the negative regulatory element was localized with the use of synthetic duplex oligomers. It is proposed that this negative element plays a significant role in the modulation of the expression of the gene for elastin in the smooth-muscle cells of the aorta during development.

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