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Gene. 2002 Oct 2;298(2):147-57.

Genomic organization and expression profile of the small GTPases of the RhoBTB family in human and mouse.

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  • 1Institut für Biochemie I, Medizinische Fakultät, University of Cologne, Joseph-Stelzmann-Strasse 52, D-50931 Cologne, Germany.


Members of the RhoBTB subfamily of Rho GTPases are present in vertebrates, Drosophila and Dictyostelium. RhoBTB proteins are characterized by a modular organization, consisting of a GTPase (guanosine triphosphatase) domain, a proline rich region, a tandem of two BTB (Broad-Complex, Tramtrack, and Bric à brac) domains and a C-terminal region of unknown function and might act as docking points for multiple components participating in signal transduction cascades. We have determined the genomic organization and the expression pattern of the three RHOBTB genes of human and mouse. The exon-intron organization of each gene is conserved in three vertebrate species (human, mouse and Fugu). RHOBTB1 and RHOBTB2 have a similar exon-intron organization and are closely related to the single gene encoding the RhoBTB orthologs of two insect species. By contrast, the exon-intron organization of RHOBTB3 differed substantially from that of the two other genes, indicating that this gene arose by a duplication event independent of the one that gave rise to RHOBTB1 and RHOBTB2. RHOBTB1 (located on chromosome 10) and RHOBTB3 (located on chromosome 5) appear ubiquitously expressed. However, they display a differential pattern of expression: RHOBTB1 showed high levels in stomach, skeletal muscle, placenta, kidney and testis, whereas RHOBTB3 was highly expressed in neural and cardiac tissues, pancreas, placenta and testis. RHOBTB2 (located on chromosome 8) showed much lower levels of expression than the other two human RHOBTB genes and it was most abundant in neural tissues. The expression patterns of the human and mouse genes were roughly comparable. All three genes were also detected in fetal tissues, and in a number of cell lines RHOBTB3 predominates. RHOBTB genes are upregulated in some cancer cell lines, suggesting that these proteins might participate in tumorigenesis.

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