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Genomics Inform > Volume 5(4); 2007 > Article
Conservation of cis-Regulatory Element Controlling Timely Translation in the 3'-UTR of Selected Mammalian Maternal Transcripts.
Hyun Joo Lee, Yoonki Lim, Sang Ho Chang, Kwansik Min, Ching Tack Han, Sue Yun Hwang
1Graduate School of Biotechnology, Environmental and Information Technology, Hankyong National University, Ansung 456-749, Korea.
2Department of Bioengineering, Hankyong National University, Ansung 456-749, Korea.
3Department of Life Science, Sogang University, Seoul 121-742, Korea.
The earliest stages of mammalian embryogenesis are governed by the activity of maternally inherited transcripts and proteins. Cytoplasmic polyadenylation of selected maternal mRNA has been reported to be a major control mechanism of delayed translation during preimplantation embryogenesis in mice. The presence of cis-elements required for cytoplasmic polyadenylation (e.g., CPE) can serve as a useful tag in the screening of maternal genes partaking in key functions in the transcriptionally dormant egg and early embryo. However, due to its relative simplicity, UA-rich sequences satisfying the canonical rule of known CPE consensus sequences are often found in the 3'-UTR of maternal transcripts that do not actually undergo cytoplasmic polyadenylation. In this study, we developed a method to confirm the validity of candidate CPE sequences in a given gene by a multiplex comparison of 3'-UTR sequences between mammalian homologs. We found that genes undergoing cytoplasmic polyadenylation tend to create a conserved block around the CPE, while CPE-like sequences in the 3'-UTR of genes lacking cytoplasmic polyadenylation do not exhibit such conservation between species. Through this cross-species comparison, we also identified an alternative CPE in the 3'-UTR of tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA), which is more likely to serve as a functional element. We suggest that verification of CPEs based on sequence conservation can provide a convenient tool for mass screening of factors governing the earliest processes of mammalian embryogenesis.
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