Journal Article

Structural and Functional Characterization of the Human FMR1 Promoter Reveals Similarities with the hnRNP-A2 Promoter Region

Régen Drouin, Martin Angers, Nancy Dallaire, Timothy M. Rose, Edouard W. Khandjian and François Rousseau

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 6, issue 12, pages 2051-2060
Published in print November 1997 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online November 1997 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
Structural and Functional Characterization of the Human FMR1 Promoter Reveals Similarities with the hnRNP-A2 Promoter Region

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Fragile X mental retardation syndrome is associated with an expansion of a CGG repeat within the 5′UTR of the first exon of the FMR1 gene, abnormal methylation of the CpG island in the promoter region, and a transcriptional silencing of this gene. We studied transcriptional regulation of the FMR1 gene using protein footprint analysis of the active and inactive gene in vivo. We identified four footprints within the FMR1 promoter region which correspond to consensus binding sites of known transcription factors, α-PAL/NRF1, Sp1, H4TF1/Sp1-like and c-myc. These footprints were present in normal cells with a transcriptionally active FMR1 gene. The same footprints were present in different cell types: primary fibroblasts, lymphoblastoid cells and peripheral lymphocytes. However, for the 1.1 kb region analyzed, no footprints were detected in a variety of cell types derived from patients with fragile X syndrome which have a transcriptionally inactive FMR1 gene. A BLAST nucleotide search identified sequence similarities between the region of the FMR1 gene containing the footprints and an analogous region within the promoter region of the gene for the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) A2, a member of a family of ribonucleoproteins implicated in mRNA processing and nuclear-cytoplasm transport. The nucleotide sequences identified in the hnRNP-A2 promoter region correspond to the same consensus binding sites showing DNA-protein interactions in the FMR1 gene. Our previous functional studies and the studies of others demonstrate that FMR proteins, like hnRNP-A2, are also ribonucleoproteins which appear to be involved in mRNA transport. The results from our footprint studies suggest that the expression of the FMR1 gene is regulated by the binding of specific transcription factors to sequence elements in the 5′ region of the gene and that this expression may be regulated by elements in common with the hnRNP-A2 gene. Common regulation of these two genes might play an important role in the cooperative processing and transport of mRNA from the nucleus to the translation machinery.

Journal Article.  7173 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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