ORFless, intronless, and mutant transcription units in the mouse t complex responder (Tcr) locus
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- Schimenti, J. (1999) 10: 969. doi:10.1007/s003359901142
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Mouse t haplotypes exhibit transmission ratio distortion (TRD), whereby heterozygous males (+/t) transmit the t chromosome to nearly all offspring. TRD is mediated by the t complex responder locus (Tcr), whose transmission is elevated above Mendelian levels by additive contribution of several t haplotype-encoded quantitative trait loci (QTLs) called t complex distorters (Tcd1–Tcd5). The entire genetically defined Tcr interval has been cloned and consists of under 200 kb. This interval is one of three large duplication units in t haplotypes that retain high levels of similarity. The cis-active nature of Tcr raises the possibility that it is not a protein-encoding gene, but another anomaly such as a structural anomaly of chromatin. To further investigate the Tcr-critical interval, a 30-kb region upstream of the Tcp10bt gene (a testis-expressed former candidate for Tcr) was sequenced, along with the duplicated paralogous region associated with Tcp10ct, which lies immediately adjacent but outside the Tcr interval. Several genes or transcriptional units were identified, including the 3′ end of ribosomal s6 kinase (Rsk3); two apparently intronless and ORF-less genes; and Gpr31, an intronless, putative G-protein coupled receptor. While the 30-kb regions were 98% identical, the Gpr31 paralog from the Tcr-critical region (Gpr31bt) contained an in-frame 210-bp deletion that disrupted two of the seven predicted transmembrane domains. Furthermore, an intronless and ORFless gene from this interval, Trex1bt, contained a 4-bp deletion that distinguished it from all other homologs in t haplotypes and wild-type chromosomes. Although it is unknown whether any of these genes are involved in TRD, their discovery raises new possibilities regarding the nature of Tcr, including a model whereby it might function as an RNA rather than a protein or chromatin anomaly.