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

Characterization of a cerebellar granule cell-specific gene encoding the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptor alpha 6 subunit.

The alpha 6 subunit of gamma-aminobutyric type A receptors is a marker for cerebellar granule cells and is an attractive candidate to study cell-specific gene expression in the brain. The mouse alpha 6 subunit gene has nine exons and spans approximately 14 kb. The largest intron (intron 8) is approximately 7 kb. For a minority of mRNAs, a missplice of the first exon was identified that disrupts the signal peptide and most likely results in the production of nonfunctional protein. The gene is transcribed from a TATA-less promoter that uses multiple start sites. Using transgenic mice, it was found that the proximal 0.5 kb of the rat alpha 6 gene upstream region confers expression on a beta-galactosidase reporter gene. One founder gave rise to a line with cerebellar granule cell-specific expression, although expression varied with lobule region. Other founders had ectopic but neuron-specific expression, with beta-galactosidase found in cerebellar Purkinje cells, neocortex, thalamus, hippocampus, caudate-putamen, and inferior colliculi. Thus, we have defined a region containing the basal promoter of the alpha 6 subunit gene and that confers neuron-specific expression.[1]


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