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Am J Hum Genet. 2000 Nov;67(5):1067-82. Epub 2000 Sep 26.

Small evolutionarily conserved RNA, resembling C/D box small nucleolar RNA, is transcribed from PWCR1, a novel imprinted gene in the Prader-Willi deletion region, which Is highly expressed in brain.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Prader-Willi syndrome is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder caused by the inactivation or deletion of imprinted, paternally expressed genes in chromosome band 15q11.2. We report the identification and characterization of PWCR1, a novel imprinted gene within that region, and its mouse orthologue, Pwcr1, which was mapped to the conserved syntenic region on mouse chromosome 7. Expressed only from the paternal allele, both genes require the imprinting-center regulatory element for expression and are transcribed from the same strand. They are intronless and do not appear to encode a protein product. High human/mouse sequence similarity (87% identity) is limited to a 99-bp region called "HMCR" (for "human-mouse conserved region"). The HMCR sequence has features of a C/D box small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) and is represented in an abundant small transcript in both species. Located in nucleoli, snoRNAs serve as methylation guidance RNAs in the modification of ribosomal RNA and other small nuclear RNAs. In addition to the nonpolyadenylated small RNAs, larger polyadenylated PWCR1 transcripts are found in most human tissues, whereas expression of any Pwcr1 RNAs is limited to mouse brain. Genomic sequence analysis reveals the presence of multiple copies of PWCR1 and Pwcr1 that are organized within local tandem-repeat clusters. On a multispecies Southern blot, hybridization to an HMCR probe encoding the putative snoRNA is limited to mammals.

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