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Oncogene. 2000 Nov 23;19(50):5810-6.

H19 gene expression is up-regulated exclusively by stabilization of the RNA during muscle cell differentiation.

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  • 1Institut de Génétique Moléculaire, UMR 5535 CNRS-Université Montpellier II, France.


H19 is a paternally imprinted gene whose expression produces a 2.4 kb RNA in most tissues during development and in mammalian myoblastic cell lines upon differentiation. Deletion of the active maternal allele of H19 and its flanking regions in the mouse leads to biallelic methylation and loss of imprinting of the neighbouring Igf2 gene. The function of H19 RNA remains unknown and, although polysome-associated, the absence of a conserved open reading frame suggests that it does not encode a protein product. We describe a novel post-transcriptional regulation of H19 gene expression which, in spite of this lack of coding capacity, is dependent on translational activity. We show that stabilization of the RNA is solely responsible for its accumulation during in vitro muscle cell differentiation. This conclusion is based on the finding that inhibition of protein synthesis results in a dramatic destabilization of H19 RNA in proliferating mouse C2C12 myoblastic cells but not in differentiated cells, and on run-on experiments which showed that the rate of transcription of H19 RNA remains constant during muscle cell differentiation. This mechanism could also be involved in H19 gene expression during mouse development in addition to its transcriptional activation which we have shown to occur.

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