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Int J Mol Sci. 2012 Nov 13;13(11):14813-27. doi: 10.3390/ijms131114813.

The Murine PSE/TATA-dependent transcriptome: evidence of functional homologies with its human counterpart.

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Department of Experimental Medicine (DIMES), University of Genoa, 16132 Genoa, Italy.


A series of recent studies demonstrated an unexpectedly high frequency of intronic RNA polymerase (pol) III transcription units spread throughout the human genome. The investigation of a subset of these transcripts revealed their tissue/cell-specific transcription together with the involvement in relevant physiopathological pathways. Despite this evidence, these transcripts did not seem to have murine orthologs, based on their nucleotide sequence, resulting in a limitation of the experimental approaches aimed to study their function. In this work, we have extended our investigation to the murine genome identifying 121 pairs of mouse/human transcripts displaying syntenic subchromosomal localization. The analysis in silico of this set of putative noncoding (nc)RNAs suggest their association with alternative splicing as suggested by recent experimental evidence. The investigation of one of these pairs taken as experimental model in mouse hippocampal neurons provided evidence of a human/mouse functional homology that does not depend on underlying sequence conservation. In this light, the collection of transcriptional units here reported can be considered as a novel source for the identification and the study of novel regulatory elements involved in relevant biological processes.

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