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Mol Cell Biol. 1988 Mar;8(3):1197-205.

Concerted evolution of human amylase genes.

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Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-0618.


Cosmid clones containing 250 kilobases of genomic DNA from the human amylase gene cluster have been isolated. These clones contain seven distinct amylase genes which appear to comprise the complete multigene family. By sequence comparison with the cDNAs, we have identified two pancreatic amylase genes and three salivary amylase genes. Two truncated pseudogenes were also recovered. Intergenic distances of 17 to 22 kilobases separate the amylase gene copies. Within the past 10 million years, duplications, gene conversions, and unequal crossover events have resulted in a very high level of sequence similarity among human amylase gene copies. To identify sequence elements involved in tissue-specific expression and hormonal regulation, the promoter regions of the human amylase genes were sequenced and compared with those of the corresponding mouse genes. The promoters of the human and mouse pancreatic amylase genes are highly homologous between nucleotide -160 and the cap site. Two sequence elements thought to influence pancreas-specific expression of the rodent genes are present in the human genes. In contrast, similarity in the 5' flanking sequences of the salivary amylase genes is limited to several short sequence elements whose positions and orientations differ in the two species. Some of these sequence elements are also associated with other parotid-specific genes and may be involved in their tissue-specific expression. A glucocorticoid response element and a general enhancer element are closely associated in several of the amylase promoters.

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