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Eur J Biochem. 1994 May 1;221(3):917-25.

Molecular characterization of human TRPM-2/clusterin, a gene associated with sperm maturation, apoptosis and neurodegeneration.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Ottawa, Canada.


The TRPM-2/clusterin gene and its cognate protein has been characterized in a number of species. Although the functional role, or roles, of the TRPM-2/clusterin protein remains to be firmly established, the gene has been implicated in a variety of physiological processes, including sperm maturation, lipid transport, membrane remodelling and inhibition of the complement cascade. TRPM-2/clusterin is induced de novo during the regression of the prostate and other hormone-dependent tissues after hormone ablation, and is over-expressed in several human neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and retinitis pigmentosa. We describe the genomic structure of the human TRPM-2/clusterin gene which is organized into nine exons, ranging in size from 47 bp (exon I) to 412 bp (exon V), spanning a region of 16,580 bp. Comparison with sequences registered in the databases shows that it has extensive similarity to the human protein designated as SP-40,40 or complement-lysis inhibitor (CLI), a protein that appears to block the membrane-attack complex of complement. However, the cDNA sequences reported for SP-40,40 and CLI diverge significantly in the 5' untranslated region of the mRNA (coded for by exon I), raising the possibility that the TRPM-2/clusterin gene is present in the human genome as a small multi-gene family or that there are several alternate exon I sequences in the TRPM-2 gene. Southern analysis and fluorescent in situ hybridization suggest that the clusterin gene is a single-copy gene, and that, if alternative exon I sequences are present in the genome, they lie outside of the lambda clones that have been characterized. Analysis of the promoter region of the human TRPM-2/clusterin gene shows many similarities to the rat TRPM-2/clusterin promoter including a putative control region containing several potential regulatory elements that may regulate the complex tissue-specific control of the gene which must be constitutively expressed in some tissues but is inducible in others.

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