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PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e24089. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024089. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

Identification and characterization of alternative promoters, transcripts and protein isoforms of zebrafish R2 gene.

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The Key Laboratory of Aquatic Biodiversity and Conservation of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei, People's Republic of China.


Ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the de novo synthesis of deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates. Expression of RNR subunits is closely associated with DNA replication and repair. Mammalian RNR M2 subunit (R2) functions exclusively in DNA replication of normal cells due to its S phase-specific expression and late mitotic degradation. Herein, we demonstrate the control of R2 expression through alternative promoters, splicing and polyadenylation sites in zebrafish. Three functional R2 promoters were identified to generate six transcript variants with distinct 5' termini. The proximal promoter contains a conserved E2F binding site and two CCAAT boxes, which are crucial for the transcription of R2 gene during cell cycle. Activity of the distal promoter can be induced by DNA damage to generate four transcript variants through alternative splicing. In addition, two novel splice variants were found to encode distinct N-truncated R2 isoforms containing residues for enzymatic activity but no KEN box essential for its proteolysis. These two N-truncated R2 isoforms remained in the cytoplasm and were able to interact with RNR M1 subunit (R1). Thus, our results suggest that multilayered mechanisms control the differential expression and function of zebrafish R2 gene during cell cycle and under genotoxic stress.

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