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

Structural analysis of the human hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase gene. Presence of two distinct promoters.

Hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT) catalyzes the last step in the metabolic pathway that synthesizes the hormone melatonin. We have found HIOMT mRNA present in small amounts in human retina and in relatively high abundance in the pineal gland. Two distinct 5' ends were found in human retina using a solid-phase 5'-rapid amplification of cDNA ends technique. The two 5' regions appear to originate from two distinct putative promoters. Although many similarities exist between the two promoters, they contain distinctive elements. Putative promoter A, for example, contains a recently discovered photoreceptor-conserved element (PCE-1, CAATTAAG) at -27 not found in promoter B, while promoter B contains an Ap1 site (ATGAGTCAA) at -166 and an octamer site (ATGCAAT) at -59 not found in promoter A. The HIOMT messages are also alternatively spliced in between exons 6 and 8, generating three distinct messages. One of the alternatively spliced messages contains a line-1 repetitive element that is spliced into the mRNA precisely as exon 6. Importantly, the downstream open reading frame is not altered by any of these splicing combinations. The gene is approximately 35 kilobases long containing either 9 or 10 exons (including the line-1 element) depending on which promoter is active. All of the splice sites follow the GT/AG rule. The dual promoters and opportunities for alternative splicing suggest a variety of mechanisms for control of HIOMT expression and biological activity in different tissues not previously recognized.[1]


  1. Structural analysis of the human hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase gene. Presence of two distinct promoters. Rodriguez, I.R., Mazuruk, K., Schoen, T.J., Chader, G.J. J. Biol. Chem. (1994) [Pubmed]
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