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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Jun 8;357(3):724-30. Epub 2007 Apr 9.

Coordinated expression of ncRNAs and HOX mRNAs in the human HOXA locus.

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Functional RNA Research Team, Biological Information Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, 2-42 Aomi, Koutou, Tokyo 135-0064, Japan.


In the human HOXA locus a number of ncRNAs are transcribed from the intergenic regions in the opposite direction to HOXA mRNAs. We observed that the genomic organization of genes for the ncRNAs and HOXA proteins is highly conserved between human and mouse. We examined the expression profiles of these ncRNAs and HOXA mRNAs in various human tissues. The expression patterns of ncRNAs in human tissues coincide with those of the adjacent HOXA mRNAs that are collinearly expressed along the anteroposterior axis. This coordinated expression was observed even in transformed tumors and cancer cell lines, suggesting that the expression of ncRNAs is prerequisite for the regulated expression of HOXA genes. HIT18844 ncRNA transcribed from the most upstream position of the HOXA cluster possesses an ultra-conserved short stretch which potentially forms an evolutionarily conserved secondary structure. Our data suggest a critical role for ncRNAs in the regulation of HOXA gene expression.

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