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Genomics. 2001 Nov;78(1-2):73-82.

Comparative genomics of the SOX9 region in human and Fugu rubripes: conservation of short regulatory sequence elements within large intergenic regions.

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  • 1Institute of Human Genetics and Anthropology, University of Freiburg, Breisacherstr. 33, Freiburg, D-79106, Germany.


Campomelic dysplasia (CD), a human skeletal malformation syndrome with XY sex reversal, is caused by heterozygous mutations in and around the gene SOX9. SOX9 has an extended 5' control region, as indicated by CD translocation breakpoints scattered over 1 Mb proximal to SOX9 and by expression data from mice transgenic for human SOX9-spanning yeast artificial chromosomes. To identify long-range regulatory elements within the SOX9 5' control region, we compared approximately 3.7 Mb and 195 kb of sequence around human and Fugu rubripes SOX9, respectively. We identified only seven and five protein-coding genes in the human and F. rubripes sequences, respectively. Four of the F. rubripes genes have been mapped in humans; all reside on chromosome 17 but show extensive intrachromosomal gene shuffling compared with the gene order in F. rubripes. In both species, very large intergenic distances separate SOX9 from its directly flanking genes: 2 Mb and 500 kb on either side of SOX9 in humans, and 68 and 97 kb on either side of SOX9 in F. rubripes. Comparative sequence analysis of the intergenic regions revealed five conserved elements, E1-E5, up to 290 kb 5' to human SOX9 and up to 18 kb 5' to F. rubripes SOX9, and three such elements, E6-E8, 3' to SOX9. Where available, mouse sequences confirm conservation of the elements. From the yeast artificial chromosome transgenic data, elements E3-E5 are candidate enhancers for SOX9 expression in limb and vertebral column, and 8 of 10 CD translocation breakpoints separate these elements from SOX9.

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