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Ann Hum Genet. 1995 Jan;59(Pt 1):1-15.

Structure of the human deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I) gene: identification of the nucleotide substitution that generates its classical genetic polymorphism.

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  • 1Department of Biochemical Genetics, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, CA, USA.


The objectives of this study were to elucidate the structural organization of the gene for human deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I) and to identify the mutation site underlying its classical genetic polymorphism. In order to determine the organization of this gene, we utilized a combination of direct polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplification of human genomic DNA and isolation of the overlapping clones from a cosmid human genomic library. Restriction endonuclease mapping, Southern blotting and DNA sequencing showed that the DNase I gene was approximately 3.2 kilobases long, it comprised 9 (I-IX) exons separated by eight introns and its complete sequence was determined. The first exon contained only the non-translated sequences of mRNA. In addition to several putative regulatory elements, TATA-like and CAAT-like sequences were observed in the region upstream of the translation initiation codon. These results provide information that will help to understand the expression and regulation of DNase I. The isoelectric focusing patterns of human DNase I showed that it exhibits classical genetic polymorphism (Kishi et al. 1989, 1990). A comparison of the entire translated sequences of the DNase I gene from two pairs of individuals with common DNase I phenotypes 1 and 2 revealed only one nucleotide residue difference in exon VIII, A for phenotype 1 and G for phenotype 2, thus producing Gln and Arg amino acid substitutions respectively at position 222 from the NH2-terminus of the mature enzyme. The predicted charge changes attributable to these amino acid substitutions are entirely consistent with the isoelectric focusing profiles of these two DNase I isozymes. We conclude that this substitution is solely responsible for the classical polymorphism of DNase I protein.

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