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Genes Dev. 2006 May 15;20(10):1268-82.

Elongation of the Kcnq1ot1 transcript is required for genomic imprinting of neighboring genes.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.


The imprinted gene cluster at the telomeric end of mouse chromosome 7 contains a differentially methylated CpG island, KvDMR, that is required for the imprinting of multiple genes, including the genes encoding the maternally expressed placental-specific transcription factor ASCL2, the cyclin-dependent kinase CDKN1C, and the potassium channel KCNQ1. The KvDMR, which maps within intron 10 of Kcnq1, contains the promoter for a paternally expressed, noncoding, antisense transcript, Kcnq1ot1. A 244-base-pair deletion of the promoter on the paternal allele leads to the derepression of all silent genes tested. To distinguish between the loss of silencing as the consequence of the absence of transcription or the transcript itself, we prematurely truncated the Kcnq1ot1 transcript by inserting a transcriptional stop signal downstream of the promoter. We show that the lack of a full-length Kcnq1ot1 transcript on the paternal chromosome leads to the expression of genes that are normally paternally repressed. Finally, we demonstrate that five highly conserved repeats residing at the 5' end of the Kcnq1ot1 transcript are not required for imprinting at this locus.

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