Identification of the principal promoter sequence of the c-H-ras transforming oncogene: deletion analysis of the 5'-flanking region by focus formation assay.
A number of deletion mutants were isolated, including 5', 3', and internal deletions in the 5'-flanking region of the human cellular oncogene related to the Harvey sarcoma virus (c-H-ras), and their transforming activities were examined in NIH 3T3 cells. DNA sequences which could not be detected without losing transforming activity were localized to a relatively short stretch upstream of the region which showed homology to the 5'-flanking region of v-H-ras oncogene. S1 nuclease analysis indicated that there were two clusters of mRNA start sites at positions that were about 1,371 and 1,298 base pairs upstream of the first coding ATG. The minimum region required for promoter function was estimated to be a 51-base-pair-long (or less) DNA segment. The promoter was GC rich (78%) and did not contain the consensus sequences that are usually observed in PolII-directed promoters but contained a GC box within which one of the mRNA start sites was included. In addition, two sets of positive and negative elements seemed to be located between the promoter and the protein-coding region, which appeared to influence positively and negatively, respectively, the efficiency of transformation with the c-H-ras oncogene.