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Gene. 2002 May 29;291(1-2):223-32.

Human mitochondrial transcription factor A (mtTFA): gene structure and characterization of related pseudogenes.

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  • 1Centro di Studio sui Mitocondri e Metabolismo Energetico, CNR, via Amendola 165/A, 70126 Bari, Italy.


Mitochondrial transcription factor A (mtTFA or Tfam) is a 25 kDa protein encoded by a nuclear gene and imported to mitochondria, where it functions as a key regulator of mammalian mitochondrial (mt) DNA transcription and replication. The coding sequence of the human mtTFA gene is reported in the literature and the sizes of few introns are known. In this paper we present the genomic structure of the human mtTFA gene along with the complete sequence of its six intronic regions. Three of the introns (I, III, VI) have been found to be less than 600 bp, while the other three were greater than 1.8 kb. In the course of this work, we discovered that, in addition to the active copy, different homologous sequences identified as processed pseudogenes psi h-mtTFA have been isolated and sequenced. Using an 'in silico' mapping approach we determined their locations on chromosomes 7, 11 and X. psi h-mtTFA locations are different from that of the gene, previously reported on chromosome 10. Transcription analysis by means of reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction has shown that other than the RNA corresponding to the full-length transcript, an isoform lacking 96 bp is also present. Among the three sequenced pseudogenes only one of them located on chromosome 11 has been found to be transcribed in Jurkat cells under these culture conditions, even though transcription initiation and binding sites for different transcription factors have also been found upstream from the other two pseudogenes.

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