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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Mar 15; 88(6): 2161–2165.

Different mRNAs code for dopa decarboxylase in tissues of neuronal and nonneuronal origin.


A cDNA clone for dopa decarboxylase (EC has been isolated from a rat pheochromocytoma cDNA library and the cDNA sequence has been determined. It corresponds to an mRNA of 2094 nucleotides. The length of the mRNA was measured by primer-extension of rat pheochromocytoma RNA and the 5' end of the sequence of the mRNA was confirmed by the PCR. A probe spanning the translation initiation site of the mRNA was used to hybridize with mRNAs from various organs of the rat. S1 nuclease digestion of the mRNAs annealed with this probe revealed two classes of mRNAs. The comparison of the cDNA sequence and published sequences for rat liver, human pheochromocytoma, and Drosophila dopa decarboxylase supported the conclusion that two mRNAs are produced: one is specific for tissue of neuronal origin and the other is specific for tissues of nonneuronal (mesodermal or endodermal) origin. The neuronal mRNA contains a 5' untranslated sequence that is highly conserved between human and rat pheochromocytoma including a GA stretch. The coding sequence and the 3' untranslated sequence of mRNAs from rat liver and pheochromocytoma are identical. The rat mRNA differs only in the 5' untranslated region. Thus a unique gene codes for dopa decarboxylase and this gene gives rise to at least two transcripts presumably in response to different signals during development.

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