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Mol Cell Biol. 1987 Dec;7(12):4266-72.

Alternative processing of RNA transcribed from NMYC.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California Medical Center, San Francisco 94143.


NMYC is a gene whose amplification and overexpression have been implicated in the generation of certain human malignancies. Little is known of how the expression of NMYC is normally controlled. We have therefore characterized transcription from the gene and the structure and stability of the resulting mRNAs. Transcription from NMYC is exceptionally complex: it initiates at numerous sites that may be grouped under the control of two promoters, and the multiplicity of initiation sites combines with alternative splicing to engender two forms of mRNA. The mRNAs have different 5' leader sequences (alternative first exons of the gene) but identical bodies (the second and third exons of the gene). Both forms of mRNA are unstable, with half-lives of ca. 15 min. Both encode the previously identified 65,000 and 67,000-dalton products of NMYC. However, the alternative first exons contain distinctive open reading frames that may diversify the coding potential of NMYC. The complexities in transcription of NMYC expand the means by which expression of the gene might be controlled.

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