The structural H19 gene is required for transgene imprinting

Karl Pfeifer, Philip A. Leighton, Shirley M. Tilghman

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The product of the H19 gene is an untranslated RNA that is expressed exclusively from the maternal chromosome during mammalian development. The H19 gene and its 5'-flanking sequence are required for the genomic imprinting of two paternally expressed genes, Ins-2 (encodes insulin-2) and Igf-2 (encodes insulin-like growth factor-2), that lie 90 and 115 kb 5' to the H19 gene, respectively. In this report, the role of the H19 gene in its own imprinting is investigated by introducing a Mus spretus H19 gene into heterologous locations in the mouse genome. Multiple copies of the transgene were sufficient for its paternal silencing and DNA methylation. Replacing the H19 structural gene with a luciferase reporter gene resulted in loss of imprinting of the transgene. That is, high expression and low levels of DNA methylation were observed upon both paternal and maternal inheritance. The removal of 701 bp at the 5' end of the structural gene resulted in a similar loss of paternal-specific DNA methylation, arguing that those sequences are required for both the establishment and maintenance of the sperm-specific gametic mark. The M. spretus H19 transgene could not rescue the loss of Igf- 2 imprinting in trans in H19 deletion mice, implying a cis requirement for the H19 gene. In contrast to a previous report in which overexpression of a marked H19 gene was a prenatal lethal, expression of the M. spretus transgene had no deleterious effect, leading to the conclusion that the 20- base insertion in the marked gene created a neomorphic mutation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13876-13883
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Nov 26 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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