Journal Article

The IC-<i>SNURF–SNRPN</i> transcript serves as a host for multiple small nucleolar RNA species and as an antisense RNA for <i>UBE3A</i>

Maren Runte, Alexander Hüttenhofer, Stephanie Groß, Martin Kiefmann, Bernhard Horsthemke and Karin Buiting

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 10, issue 23, pages 2687-2700
Published in print November 2001 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online November 2001 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/10.23.2687
The IC-SNURF–SNRPN transcript serves as a host for multiple small nucleolar RNA species and as an antisense RNA for UBE3A

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The imprinted domain on human chromosome 15 consists of two oppositely imprinted gene clusters, which are under the coordinated control of an imprinting center (IC) at the 5′ end of the SNURF–SNRPN gene. One gene cluster spans the centromeric part of this domain and contains several genes that are transcribed from the paternal chromosome only (MKRN3, MAGEL2, NDN, SNURF–SNRPN, HBII-13, HBII-85 and HBII-52). Apart from the HBII small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) genes, each of these genes is associated with a 5′ differentially methylated region (DMR). The second gene cluster maps to the telomeric part of the imprinted domain and contains two genes (UBE3A and ATP10C), which in some tissues are preferentially expressed from the maternal chromosome. So far, no DMR has been identified at these loci. Instead, maternal-only expression of UBE3A may be regulated indirectly through a paternally expressed antisense transcript. We report here that a processed antisense transcript of UBE3A starts at the IC. The SNURF–SNRPN sense/UBE3A antisense transcription unit spans more than 460 kb and contains at least 148 exons, including the previously identified IPW exons. It serves as the host for the previously identified HBII-13, HBII-85 and HBII-52 snoRNAs as well as for four additional snoRNAs (HBII-436, HBII-437, HBII-438A and HBII-438B), newly identified in this study. Almost all of those snoRNAs are encoded within introns of this large transcript. Northern blot analysis indicates that most if not all of these snoRNAs are indeed expressed by processing from these introns. As we have not obtained any evidence for other genes in this region, which, from the mouse data appears to be critical for the neonatal Prader–Willi syndrome phenotype, a lack of these snoRNAs may be causally involved in this disease.

Journal Article.  8190 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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