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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1996 Apr 19;118(1-2):113-23.

Expression of the rat BFGF antisense RNA transcript is tissue-specific and developmentally regulated.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


The basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) gene locus is transcribed into a number of mRNA transcripts including an antisense mRNA derived from the opposite DNA strand of the bFGF gene. Expression of this natural antisense RNA has been implicated in regulation of the bFGF sense mRNA expression and turnover. In the present study we examined the developmental pattern of expression of the bFGF antisense transcript in fetal and postnatal rat tissues. Northern hybridization with a strand-specific cRNA probe detected a 1.5-kb polyadenylated antisense RNA in all tissues examined except brain, in which two transcripts were detected as a doublet of approximately 1.3-1.5 kb in size. The level of antisense transcript expression was markedly tissue- and age-dependent. In the developing brain, both sense and antisense transcripts were detected by Northern hybridization, but the pattern of their expression was inversely related. The 6.0-kb bFGF sense transcript increased in an age-dependent manner from days 3-30 of postnatal development while the antisense transcript decreased to nearly undetectable levels over the same period. In embryonic (days 15-19) liver, kidney, heart and intestine bFGF antisense RNA expression was low but increased dramatically at parturition, rising 5-10-fold over fetal levels by 10 days of age, then declined slowly to a new steady-state level in adult tissues. The level of antisense RNA in these tissues was much higher than that of bFGF sense mRNA, which was undetectable by Northern analysis. Sense and antisense trancripts were also detected in midgestational (11.5 days) embryos by RT-PCR. Antisense expression did not increase when embryos were explanted and cultured for 48 h (9.5-11.5 days). The apparent reciprocal relationship between the abundance of sense and antisense bFGF transcripts in developing brain supports the possibility of a regulatory role for the antisense transcript in this tissue. There was no evidence for a reciprocal relationship between sense and antisense expression in the other tissues examined, indicating that the relationship between sense and antisense RNA expression may be tissue-specific.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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