The carboxyl ester lipase (CEL) gene is highly expressed in exocrine pancreas and expression of the human CEL gene is mediated by a strong tissue-specific enhancer, which is absolutely necessary for high-level expression. The mouse promoter, on the other hand, does not contain a corresponding enhancer element, but instead is totally dependent on another pancreas-specific element. This element is identified as a pancreatic transcription factor 1 (PTF 1)-binding site. The human CEL promoter also contains a putative PTF 1 element located at a position corresponding to the essential PTF 1 site in the mouse promoter. However, nucleotide changes in the human promoter 5´ flanking this PTF 1 site have created an overlapping CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP)-like binding motif, interfering with the binding of PTF 1. Hence, our findings provide an example of genetic divergence between species not accompanied by difference in function.

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