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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The cloning and characterization of the human transcobalamin II gene.

Transcobalamin II (TCII) is a plasma protein that binds vitamin B12 (cobalamin; Cbl) and facilitates the cellular uptake of the vitamin by receptor-mediated endocytosis. In genetic disorders that are characterized by congenital deficiency of TCII, intracellular Cbl deficiency occurs, resulting in an early onset of megaloblastic anemia that is sometimes accompanied by a neurologic disorder. To define the genetic basis for TCII deficiency, we have cloned and characterized the human gene that encodes this protein. The gene spans a minimum of 18 kbp and contains nine exons and eight introns, with a polyadenylation signal sequence located 509 bp downstream from the termination codon and a transcription initiation site beginning 158 bp upstream from the ATG translation start site. The 5' flanking DNA does not have a TATA or CCAAT regulatory element, but a 34-nucleotide stretch beginning just upstream of the CAP site contains four tandemly organized 5'-CCCC-3' tetramers. This sequence is a motif for a trans-active transcription factor ( ETF) that regulates expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR), which also lacks TATA and CCAAT regulatory elements. A GC-rich sequence that binds the SP1 protein is located 356 nucleotides upstream from the first of the series of CCCC tetramers. Although this GC sequence is at an unusual location with respect to the CAP site, a 507-bp fragment containing this GC box drives the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter gene after transient transfection into NIH 3T3 cells. No CAT activity was observed when a 420-bp fragment lacking this GC box but containing the ETF-binding domains was similarly transfected into this cell line. One consensus and two atypical motifs for the c-myc ligand are located downstream and upstream, respectively, of the GC box, and this could explain the elevated plasma TCII observed in some patients with multiple myeloma, as the c-myc product is overexpressed in some myeloma cells. Restriction endonuclease digestion of genomic DNA from eight normal subjects with Taq I, Hinfl, Msp I, and Bgl I identified three patterns of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). A number of the exon/intron splice junctions of human TCII, TCI, and IF genes are located in homologous regions of these proteins, providing evidence that these genes have evolved by duplication of an ancestral gene. This characterization of the TCII gene and the RFLP should facilitate the identification of the mutation(s) responsible for the genetic abnormalities of TCII expression.[1]


  1. The cloning and characterization of the human transcobalamin II gene. Regec, A., Quadros, E.V., Platica, O., Rothenberg, S.P. Blood (1995) [Pubmed]
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