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Mol Biol Evol. 1994 Mar;11(2):305-15.

Comparative analysis of the zeta-crystallin/quinone reductase gene in guinea pig and mouse.

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Laboratory of Mechanisms of Ocular Diseases, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


zeta-Crystallin is a novel nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate:quinone reductase, present at enzymatic levels in various tissues of different species, which is highly expressed in the lens of some hystricomorph rodents and camelids. We report here the complementary DNA (cDNA) cloning of zeta-crystallin from liver libraries in guinea pig (Cavia porcellus), where zeta-crystallin is highly expressed in the lens, and in the laboratory mouse (Mus musculus), where expression in the lens occurs only at enzymatic levels. A 5' untranslated sequence different from the one previously reported for the guinea pig lens cDNA was found in these clones. We also report the isolation of genomic clones including the complete guinea pig zeta-crystallin gene and the 5' region of this gene in mouse. These results show the presence of two promoters in the guinea pig zeta-crystallin gene, one responsible for expression at enzymatic levels and the other responsible for the high expression in the lens. The guinea pig lens promoter is not present in the mouse gene. This is the first example in which the recruitment of an enzyme as a lens crystallin can be explained by the acquisition of an alternative lens-specific promoter.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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