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Cytogenet Genome Res. 2006;113(1-4):188-93.

The H19 gene: regulation and function of a non-coding RNA.

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Department of Genetics and Development, Institut Cochin, INSERM U567, CNRS UMR 8104, University Paris V Descartes, Paris, France.


The H19 gene encodes a 2.3-kb non-coding mRNA which is strongly expressed during embryogenesis. This gene belongs to an imprinted cluster, conserved on mouse chromosome 7 and human chromosome 11p15. H19 is maternally expressed and the neighbouring Igf2 gene is transcribed from the paternal allele. These two genes are co-expressed in endoderm- and mesoderm-derived tissues during embryonic development, which suggests a common mechanism of regulation. The regulatory elements (imprinted control region, CTCF insulation, different enhancer sequences, promoters of the two genes, matrix attachment regions) confer a differential chromatin architecture to the two parental alleles leading to reciprocal expression. The role of the H19 gene is unclear but different aspects have been proposed. H19 influences growth by way of a cis control on Igf2 expression. Although H19(-/-) mice are viable, a role for this gene during development has been suggested by viable H19(-/-) parthenogenetic mice. Finally it has been described as a putative tumour suppressor gene. H19 has been studied by numerous laboratories over the last fifteen years, nevertheless the function of this non-coding RNA remains to be elucidated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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