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The structure of the promoter of the human APP gene resembles that of housekeeping genes, with the presence of a GC-rich region and the lack of a canonical TATA box. Since analysis of the expression of the APP gene, especially at the transcriptional level, might reveal factors or elements, which influence amyloid formation in Alzheimer's disease, a 5' deletion analysis of the APP promoter was performed, leading to the identification of an activating DNA fragment (Ac), acting also on a heterologous promoter. DNaseI-footprint analysis revealed three protected regions on the Ac fragment. Further gene transfer experiments showed, that at least two elements, designated A and C, confer transcriptional activity in HeLa cells. Whereas the proximal element A is a 19bp long GC-rich DNA sequence, the distal element C is a GC-palindrome with the sequence 5'GCGGCGCCGC.