Functional characterization of the human TPH2 5′ regulatory region: untranslated region and polymorphisms modulate gene expression in vitro
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- Chen, GL., Vallender, E.J. & Miller, G.M. Hum Genet (2008) 122: 645. doi:10.1007/s00439-007-0443-y
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Tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (TPH2) is a recently identified TPH isoform responsible for neuronal serotonin (5-HT) synthesis, and TPH2 polymorphisms are associated with a range of behavioral traits and psychiatric disorders. This study characterized cis-acting elements and three common polymorphisms (−703G/T, −473T/A, and 90A/G) in the 5′ regulatory region of human TPH2 by using luciferase reporter assay, quantitative real-time PCR, and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). The core promoter of human TPH2 was localized to the region between −107 and +7, and the segment of +8 to +53 within the 5′-UTR was found to exert a potent inhibitory effect on gene expression at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. In both RN46A and HEK-293 cell lines, the TTA (−703T/−473T/90A) haplotype of the three polymorphisms showed the lowest gene expression compared with other haplotypes, and the −703G/T and −473T/A polymorphisms tended to exert a synergic effect on gene expression dependent upon the sequence of the 5′-UTR. In RN46A, the 90A/G polymorphism significantly increased luciferase activity and mRNA level irrespective of the other two polymorphisms, while in HEK-293 cells the effect of 90A/G was dependent on the alleles at loci −703 and −473. EMSA showed that all the three polymorphisms potentially alter DNA–protein interactions, while the 90A/G polymorphism predictably alters the 5′-UTR secondary structure of mRNA and influences RNA–protein interactions. In conclusion, our present study demonstrates that both the 5′-UTR and common polymorphisms (especially the 90A/G) in the 5′ regulatory region of human TPH2 have a significant impact on gene expression.