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Brain Res. 2004 Mar 12;1000(1-2):156-73.

Characterization of genomic organization of the adenosine A2A receptor gene by molecular and bioinformatics analyses.

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Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


The adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A)R) is abundantly expressed in brain and emerging as an important therapeutic target for Parkinson's disease and potentially other neuropsychiatric disorders. To understand the molecular mechanisms of A(2A)R gene expression, we have characterized the genomic organization of the mouse and human A(2A)R genes by molecular and bioinformatic analyses. Three new exons (m1A, m1B and m1C) encoding the 5' untranslated regions (5'-UTRs) of mouse A(2A)R mRNA were identified by rapid amplification of 5' cDNA end (5' RACE), RT-PCR analysis and genome sequence analyses. Similar bioinformatics analysis also suggested six variants of the non-coding "exon 1" (h1A, h1B, h1C, h1D, h1E and h1F) in the human A(2A)R gene, which were confirmed by RT-PCR analysis, while three of the human exon 1 variants (h1D, h1E and h1F) were likewise verified by 5' oligonucleotide capping analysis suggesting multiple transcription start sites. Importantly, RT-PCR and quantitative PCR analysis demonstrated that the A(2A)R transcripts with different exon 1 variants displayed tissue-specific expression patterns. For instance, the mouse exon m1A mRNA was detected only in brain (specifically striatum) and the human exon h1D mRNA in lymphoreticular system. Furthermore, the determination of the three new transcription start sites of human A(2A)R gene by 5' oligonucleotide capping and bioinformatics analyses led to the identification of three corresponding promoter regions which contain several important cis elements, providing additional target for further molecular dissection of A(2A)R gene expression. Finally, our analysis indicates that A(2A)R mRNA and a novel transcript partially overlapping with the 3' exon h3, but in opposite orientation to the A(2A)R gene, could conceivably form duplexes to mutually regulate transcript expression. Thus, combined molecular and bioinformatics analyses revealed a new A(2A)R genomic structure, with conserved coding exons 2 and 3 and divergent, tissue-specific exon 1 variants encoding for 5'-UTR. This raises the possibility of generating multiple tissue-specific A(2A)R mRNA species by alternative promoters with varying regulatory susceptibility.

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