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Yakugaku Zasshi. 2000 Jun;120(6):520-33.

[Functional arrangement of genomic DNA and structure of nuclear matrix].

[Article in Japanese]

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School of Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan.


The nuclear matrix (nuclear scaffold), the RNA-protein skeleton of the nucleus, has a role in the organization and function of nuclear DNA. Nuclear processes associated with the nuclear matrix include transcription, replication, repair and splicing. We have purified a nuclear matrix protein, P130, which binds to several matrix attachment regions (MARs). Since the nucleotide sequence of P130 cDNA cloned by us was closely similar to that of matrin 3 cDNA cloned, except for two incorrect nucleotides within the matrin 3 coding region, and since the functions of matrin 3 were unknown, P130, referred to as P130/Mat3, was functionally characterized. The primary structure deduced for P130/Mat3 contained two DNA binding domains with C2H2-type zinc finger motif and two RNA binding domains. In addition, there were a nuclear localization signal and several phosphorylation sites for tyrosine or serine/threonine protein kinases, suggesting its multiple functions. MAR inserted upstream from the SV40 promoter in pMAR/luc assisted luciferase gene transcription in a transient expression system in Ac2F cells. Cotransfection of a plasmid carrying P130/Mat3 cDNA downstream from the CMV promoter into Ac2F cells produced this protein a level 4 times higher than that in wild-type Ac2F, causing 20 times higher luciferase activity from pMAR/luc than that induced by pMAR/luc alone. These findings indicated that MAR functions as a cis-element to which P130/Mat3 binds as one of the possible transactivators. Nuclear matrix proteins, which are tissue- and cell-type-specific, are altered with transformation and state of differentiation. We have shown that an MAR binding protein, P230, is detectable in rat hepatoma cells but not in normal liver, and suggested that this protein is a diagnostic and prognostic marker for liver cancer. It is clear that nuclear matrix proteins hold a considerable promise as diagnostic tools for pathologists. Present evidence, including our data, suggests that nuclear matrix proteins may be useful biomarkers of neoplastic disease in the serum, body fluids, and tissues. Nuclear matrix proteins are also potential candidates for the use as tumor prognostic factors and targets of anticancer drugs through apoptosis. We will discuss screening of drugs that interact with nuclear matrix proteins and influence nuclear events.

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