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J Mol Biol. 1989 Jul 5;208(1):45-56.

Mouse glutamine synthetase is encoded by a single gene that can be expressed in a localized fashion.

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  • 1Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021.


Two mouse glutamine synthetase (GSase) cDNAs were cloned that correspond to the 2.8 kb and 1.4 kb mRNA species found in many mouse tissues (1 kb = 10(3) base-pairs). There is a sequence homology of about 90% to other mammalian GSase cDNAs in the coding region. A 2.1 kb mRNA can be discerned in fat tissue, the most abundant source of GSase mRNA. Three genomic clones G4, G21 and G2 contain GSase sequences. By several criteria G21 and G2 are pseudogenes, while G4 is a functional gene composed of seven exons and six introns. Primer extension, RNase protection and Northern analysis provide evidence that all tissues use the same major RNA start site and the different-sized mRNAs are due to the usage of two different poly(A) sites, neither of which has the consensus AAUAAA sequence. When tested by transfection into Hep G2 human hepatoma cells the G4 promoter can produce correctly initiated mRNA with only 350 base-pairs of 5' regulatory sequences. A major interest in GSase expression is its restriction to pericentral hepatocytes in adult liver. In this paper we show by in situ hybridization that GSase mRNA is only found in glial cells in the adult brain and in proximal tubular epithelium of the kidney. Coupled with the earlier demonstration of expression of GSase only in pericentral hepatocytes, it is clear that this gene is regulated by position-specific signals in many cell types.

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