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J Biol Chem. 1995 Apr 28;270(17):10314-22.

Structure and regulation of the gene encoding the neuron-specific protein kinase C substrate neurogranin (RC3 protein).

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  • 1Section on Metabolic Regulation, NICHD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


A 13-kilobase pair genomic DNA encoding a 78-amino acid brain-specific calmodulin-binding protein kinase C (PKC) substrate, neurogranin (Ng/RC3; also known as RC3 or p17), has been sequenced. The Ng/RC3 gene is composed of four exons and three introns, with the protein-coding region located in the first and second exons. This gene was found to have multiple transcriptional start sites clustered within 20 base pairs (bp); it lacks the TATA, GC, and CCAAT boxes in the proximal upstream region of the start sites. The promoter activity was characterized by transfection of 293 cells with nested deletion mutants of the 5'-flanking region fused to the luciferase reporter gene. A minimal construct containing bp +11 to +256 was nearly as active as that covering bp -1508 to +256, whereas a shorter one covering bp +40 to +256 had a greatly reduced activity. Between bp +11 and +40 lies a 12-nucleotide sequence (CCCCGCCCACCC) containing overlapping binding sites for AP2 (CCGCCCACCC) and SP1 (CCCGCC); this region may be important for conferring the basal transcriptional activity of the Ng/RC3 gene. The expression of a Ng/RC3-luciferase fusion construct (-1508/+256) in transfected 293 cells was stimulated by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), but not by cAMP, arachidonic acid, vitamin D, retinoic acid, or thyroxines T3 and T4. PMA caused a 2-4-fold stimulation of all the reporter gene constructs ranging from +11/+256 to -1508/+256. The stimulatory effects of PMA could be magnified by cotransfection with both Ca(2+)-dependent and -independent phorbol ester-binding PKC-alpha, -beta I, -beta II, -gamma, -delta, and -epsilon cDNAs, but not by non-phorbol ester-binding PKC-zeta cDNA. The Ng/RC3 and PKC-gamma genes have a similar expression pattern in the brain during development. These two genes share at least four conserved sequence segments 1.5 kilobase pair upstream from their transcriptional start sites and a gross similarity in that they possess several AT-rich segments within bp -550 to -950. A near homogeneous 20-kDa DNA-binding protein purified from rat brain was able to bind to these AT-rich regions of both Ng/RC3 and PKC-gamma genes with footprints containing ATTA, ATAA, and AATA sequences.

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