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J Biol Chem. 1998 Oct 23;273(43):28247-52.

The H19 transcript is associated with polysomes and may regulate IGF2 expression in trans.

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  • 1Department of Animal Development & Genetics, Uppsala University, Norbyv√§gen 18A, S-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.


The imprinted H19 gene produces a fully processed transcript that does not exhibit any conserved open reading frame between mouse and man. Although transcriptional control elements associated with the mouse H19 locus have been shown to control the neighboring Igf2 gene in cis, the prevailing view is that the cytoplasmic H19 transcript does not display any function. In contrast to earlier reports, we show here that the H19 transcript is associated with polysomes in a variety of cell types, in both mouse and man. A possible trans-function of the H19 gene is suggested by a reciprocal correlation in trans between cytoplasmic H19 and IGF2 mRNA levels, as well as IGF2 mRNA translatability. We discuss these results in terms of their challenge to the prevailing dogma on the function of the enigmatic H19 gene, as well as with respect to the ontogeny of the Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, and propose that the human H19 gene is an antagonist of IGF2 expressivity in trans.

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