Role of a 461-bp G-rich repetitive element in H19 transgene imprinting
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The molecular mechanism leading to the imprinted expression of genes is poorly understood. While no conserved cis-acting elements have been identified within the known loci, many imprinted genes are located near directly repetitive sequence elements, suggesting that such repeats might play a role in imprinted gene expression. The maternally expressed mouse H19 gene is located approximately 1.5 kb downstream from a 461-bp G-rich repetitive element. We have used a transgenic model to investigate whether this element is essential for H19 imprinting. Previous results demonstrated that a transgene, which contains 14 kb of H19 sequence, exhibits parent-of-origin specific expression and methylation analogous to the endogenous H19 imprinting pattern. Here, we have generated transgenes lacking the G-rich repeat. One transgene, containing a deletion of the G-rich repetitive element but which includes an additional 1.7 kb of 5’H19 sequence, is imprinted similarly to the endogenous H19 gene. To determine whether the G-rich repeat is conserved in other imprinted mammalian H19 homologues, additional 5’ flanking sequences were cloned from the rat and human. This element is conserved in the rat but not in human DNA. These results suggest that the 461-bp G-rich repetitive element is not essential for H19 imprinting.
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