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Hum Mol Genet. 2000 Sep 1;9(14):2117-24.

An evolutionarily conserved germ cell-specific hnRNP is encoded by a retrotransposed gene.

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MRC Human Genetics Unit, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK.


The gene encoding heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) G recently has been mapped to the X chromosome. All mammals have a Y chromosome-encoded homologue of HNRNP G called RBMY, which is implicated with a role in male fertility and is a candidate for the azoospermia factor gene. We have identified a new member of this gene family, HNRNP G-T, and have mapped it as a single-copy gene on chromosome 11. This gene contains an uninterrupted open reading frame and no introns, consistent with derivation from a retroposon. However, unlike many retroposon-derived genes, HNRNP G-T is not a pseudogene. An antiserum raised to the conceptual reading frame of HNRNP G-T showed that it encodes a protein that is highly expressed in germ cells and in particular in the nuclei of meiotic spermatocytes. Surprisingly, although this antiserum was raised against human hnRNP G-T protein, it can also detect a similar protein in the testis of several mammals. This suggests that the protein is highly conserved and that the retrotransposition event generating the HNRNP G-T gene pre-dated at least the common ancestor of mouse and man. The existence of an additional testis-specific hnRNP G family member provides evidence for the importance of these proteins in normal germ cell development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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