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

Identification and characterization of an antisense RNA transcript (gfg) from the human basic fibroblast growth factor gene.

Basic fibroblast growth factor ( bFGF) is an autocrine growth factor that is overexpressed in glial tumor cells and promotes their unregulated proliferation. We have previously reported that increased messenger RNA (mRNA) stability contributes to the elevated steady state levels of bFGF mRNA in human U87-MG glioma cells. Stability of bFGF mRNA is regulated by a natural antisense transcript in Xenopus oocytes, but the mammalian equivalent of this transcript has not previously been described. We were interested in identifying the human equivalent of this antisense transcript in order to study its role in bFGF mRNA stability. Analysis of the 3'-untranslated region of the 6.7-kilobase human bFGF mRNA revealed two areas of greater than 75% homology to exons 3 and 4 of the Xenopus antisense transcript, separated by 4300 basepairs of nonhomologous sequence. We used reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction to amplify, clone, and sequence a 301-basepair fragment of the antisense splice variant from U87-MG cells. The clone (gfg-1) is 73% identical to the Xenopus sequence, with a conserved splice junction and an open reading frame. Strand-specific gfg-1 complementary RNA probes detect a 1.5-kilobase mRNA transcript in normal rat tissues and human T47D breast cancer cells, which contain very low levels of bFGF mRNA. In contrast, antisense transcript expression was undetectable by Northern hybridization in U87-MG cells, which overexpress the bFGF sense mRNA. The reciprocal relationship between bFGF sense and antisense expression suggests that antisense transcripts may regulate bFGF expression in mammalian cells, and that disruption of normal sense/antisense mRNA ratios may lead to overexpression of bFGF in some tumors.[1]


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