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PLoS One. 2017 Mar 2;12(3):e0172467. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172467. eCollection 2017.

Mutation in cpsf6/CFIm68 (Cleavage and Polyadenylation Specificity Factor Subunit 6) causes short 3'UTRs and disturbs gene expression in developing embryos, as revealed by an analysis of primordial germ cell migration using the medaka mutant naruto.

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Laboratory of Bioresources, National Institute for Basic Biology, Aichi, Japan.
Faculty of Life Sciences, Kyoto Sangyo University, Kyoto, Japan.
School of Medicine, Yamaguchi University, Ube, Japan.


Our previous studies analyzing medaka mutants defective in primordial germ cell (PGC) migration identified cxcr4b and cxcr7, which are both receptors of the chemokine sdf1/cxcl12, as key regulators of PGC migration. Among PGC migration mutants, naruto (nar) is unique in that the mutant phenotype includes gross morphological abnormalities of embryos, suggesting that the mutation affects a broader range of processes. A fine genetic linkage mapping and genome sequencing showed the nar gene encodes Cleavage and Polyadenylation Specificity Factor subunit 6 (CPSF6/CFIm68). CPSF6 is a component of the Cleavage Factor Im complex (CFIm) which plays a key role in pre-mRNA 3'-cleavage and polyadenylation. 3'RACE of sdf1a/b and cxcr7 transcripts in the mutant embryos indicated shorter 3'UTRs with poly A additions occurring at more upstream positions than wild-type embryos, suggesting CPSF6 functions to prevent premature 3'UTR cleavage. In addition, expression of the coding region sequences of sdf1a/b in nar mutants was more anteriorly extended in somites than wild-type embryos, accounting for the abnormally extended distribution of PGCs in nar mutants. An expected consequence of shortening 3'UTR is the escape from the degradation mechanism mediated by microRNAs interacting with distal 3'UTR sequence. The abnormal expression pattern of sdf1a coding sequence may be at least partially accounted for by this mechanism. Given the pleiotropic effects of nar mutation, further analysis using the nar mutant will reveal processes in which CPSF6 plays essential regulatory roles in poly A site selection and involvement of 3'UTRs in posttranscriptional gene regulation in various genes in vivo.

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