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Eur J Biochem. 1992 May 1;205(3):1033-41.

Structure of the differentially expressed mouse U3A gene.

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Centre de Recherche de Biochimie et de Génétique Cellulaires du CNRS, Université Paul-Sabatier, Toulouse, France.


Two markedly different forms of U3 RNA are present in mouse, the relative abundance of which largely depends upon the tissues. In all cases studied so far, the more abundant form is U3B, encoded by four previously characterized genes. We report here the isolation and analysis of the unique gene encoding the U3A variant, which completes the characterization of the mouse U3 multigene family. Comparisons with rat U3 genes indicate that the diversification of the A and B forms has predated the mouse/rat separation. The two forms of U3 RNA are submitted to similar, but not identical, primary and secondary structure constraints. As for the sequences flanking the RNA coding region, similar observations emerge for both types of genes: for each type, the 5' flanks are strongly conserved between mouse and rat, over at least the proximal 500 bp, whereas only about 30 bp of proximal 3' flanks are preserved, which include a signal for the formation of vertebrate U small nRNA 3' end. By contrast the 5' flanks of the two types of genes diverge extensively from each other, either in mouse or in rat, and could be involved in the differential expression of the two forms. Even over the few conserved motifs thought to be involved in the basic transcriptional control of vertebrate U small nRNA genes, the A and B forms of U3 genes exhibit specific differences maintained in the two rodent species.

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