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Biochem J. Dec 15, 1993; 296(Pt 3): 663–670.
PMCID: PMC1137748

Genomic structure of murine methylmalonyl-CoA mutase: evidence for genetic and epigenetic mechanisms determining enzyme activity.

Abstract

Methylmalonyl-CoA mutase (MCM) is a nuclear-encoded mitochondrial matrix enzyme. We have reported characterization of murine MCM and cloning of a murine MCM cDNA and now describe the murine Mut locus, its promoter and evidence for tissue-specific variation in MCM mRNA, enzyme and holo-enzyme levels. The Mut locus spans 30 kb and contains 13 exons constituting a unique transcription unit. A B1 repeat element was found in the 3' untranslated region (exon 13). The transcription initiation site was identified and upstream sequences were shown to direct expression of a reporter gene in cultured cells. The promoter contains sequence motifs characteristic of: (1) TATA-less housekeeping promoters; (2) enhancer elements purportedly involved in co-ordinating expression of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins; and (3) regulatory elements including CCAAT boxes, cyclic AMP-response elements and potential AP-2-binding sites. Northern blots demonstrate a greater than 10-fold variation in steady-state mRNA levels, which correlate with tissue levels of enzyme activity. However, the ratio of holoenzyme to total enzyme varies among different tissues, and there is no correlation between steady-state mRNA levels and holoenzyme activity. These results suggest that, although there may be regulation of MCM activity at the level of mRNA, the significance of genetic regulation is unclear owning to the presence of epigenetic regulation of holoenzyme formation.

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