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J Biol Chem. 2009 Feb 20;284(8):5217-28. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M805996200. Epub 2008 Nov 12.

Characterization of an evolutionarily conserved metallophosphoesterase that is expressed in the fetal brain and associated with the WAGR syndrome.

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Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India.


Among the human diseases that result from chromosomal aberrations, a de novo deletion in chromosome 11p13 is clinically associated with a syndrome characterized by Wilms' tumor, aniridia, genitourinary anomalies, and mental retardation (WAGR). Not all genes in the deleted region have been characterized biochemically or functionally. We have recently identified the first Class III cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase, Rv0805, from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which biochemically and structurally belongs to the superfamily of metallophosphoesterases. We performed a large scale bioinformatic analysis to identify orthologs of the Rv0805 protein and identified many eukaryotic genes that included the human 239FB gene present in the region deleted in the WAGR syndrome. We report here the first detailed biochemical characterization of the rat 239FB protein and show that it possesses metallophosphodiesterase activity. Extensive mutational analysis identified residues that are involved in metal interaction at the binuclear metal center. Generation of a rat 239FB protein with a mutation corresponding to a single nucleotide polymorphism seen in human 239FB led to complete inactivation of the protein. A close ortholog of 239FB is found in adult tissues, and biochemical characterization of the 239AB protein demonstrated significant hydrolytic activity against 2',3'-cAMP, thus representing the first evidence for a Class III cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase in mammals. Highly conserved orthologs of the 239FB protein are found in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila and, coupled with available evidence suggesting that 239FB is a tumor suppressor, indicate the important role this protein must play in diverse cellular events.

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