A Novel Pseudoautosomal Gene Encoding a Putative GTP-Binding Protein Resides in the Vicinity of the Xp/Yp Telomere

Human Molecular Genetics, Mar 1998

We report the cloning of a novel Xp/Yp pseudoautosomal gene called PGPL, and demonstrate that PGPL, like other pseudoautosomal genes, escapes X inactivation and has a functional homologue on the Y chromosome. This gene is expressed in all the tissues examined and is highly conserved across several species. The PGPL gene encodes a protein of 442 amino acids and shows the consensus sequences of a series of motifs of the GTP-binding protein domain. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis on normal males and on patients with rearrangements in the pseudoautosomal region, the gene was localized within 500 kb of the telomere. Further refinement using a cosmid contig of the region places this novel gene within 80–110 kb of the telomere, making this the most telomeric gene on the short arms of the sex chromosomes.

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A Novel Pseudoautosomal Gene Encoding a Putative GTP-Binding Protein Resides in the Vicinity of the Xp/Yp Telomere

Fernando Gianfrancesco 2 Teresa Esposito 2 Luisa Montanini 2 Alfredo Ciccodicola 1 Steven Mumm 0 Richard Mazzarella 5 Ercole Rao 4 Sabrina Giglio 3 Gudrun Rappold 4 Antonino Forabosco 2 0 Division of Bone and Mineral Diseases 1 International Institute of Genetics and Biophysics (IIGB) , CNR, 80125 Naples, Italy 2 Department of Morphology and Legal Medicine Sciences , Histology, Embryology and Genetics Unit, University of Modena , 41100 Modena, Italy 3 Biologia Generale e Genetica Medica, Universit di Pavia , Pavia, Italy 4 Institute of Human Genetics, Heidelberg University , Im Neuenheimer Feld 328, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany 5 Institute for Biomedical Computing and Center for Genetics in Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine , St Louis, MO 63110, USA We report the cloning of a novel Xp/Yp pseudoautosomal gene called PGPL, and demonstrate that PGPL, like other pseudoautosomal genes, escapes X inactivation and has a functional homologue on the Y chromosome. This gene is expressed in all the tissues examined and is highly conserved across several species. The PGPL gene encodes a protein of 442 amino acids and shows the consensus sequences of a series of motifs of the GTP-binding protein domain. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis on normal males and on patients with rearrangements in the pseudoautosomal region, the gene was localized within 500 kb of the telomere. Further refinement using a cosmid contig of the region places this novel gene within 80-110 kb of the telomere, making this the most telomeric gene on the short arms of the sex chromosomes. - Mammalian sex chromosomes share two terminal regions of homologous DNA sequences, which pair and recombine during male meiosis. Genes in these regions can be exchanged between the X and Y chromosomes and are inherited as if autosomal (14). They are present in two doses in both males and females, and escape inactivation (with one exception noted below) of the X chromosome in females. X chromosome inactivation results in the transcriptional inactivation of most genes on one of the pair of X chromosomes in females, thereby achieving dosage equivalence for X-linked genes between males and females (5). A growing number of human genes have been described that escape X inactivation, being expressed from both the active and inactive X chromosomes (6). Many of the genes that escape X inactivation are located in the pseudoautosomal regions (PARs) at the termini of the X and Y chromosomes (716), although an increasing number are being identified outside the PARs (1730). Some of the interspersed X chromosome genes that escape X inactivation, like pseudoautosomal genes, have functional Y homologues, although these homologues are not identical to the X-linked genes at the DNA sequence level. Other genes also escape X inactivation, but they do not have a Y homologue (31). One of two genes located in the XqPAR (IL9R) escapes X inactivation and is expressed from the Y chromosome (16) while SYBL1, that has identical copies on X and Y, surprisingly does not escape X inactivation and, in addition, is inactive on the Y chromosome (15). In our search for genes which escape X inactivation, we identified a novel pseudoautosomal gene that has a functional homologue on the Y chromosome. This gene is a putative GTP-binding protein which we have named PGPL (pseudoautosomal GTP-binding protein-like). Mapping information identifies this locus as the most telomeric gene in the Xp/Yp PAR. Isolation and characterization of PGPL Expressed sequence tag (EST) 917 was isolated from human skeletal muscle and mapped by silver-stained denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (DPGE) on the X and Y chromosomes (32). By PCR-based screening (33) using the EST 917 primers, a cDNA of almost 1900 bp was recovered from a cDNA library derived from a human uninduced male teratocarcinoma cell line, NT2/D1 (34). The cDNA sequence was determined and is shown in Figure 1. It contains an interesting open Figure 1. The nucleotide sequence of the PGPL gene together with the conceptual translation of the open reading frame. GTP-binding protein-like domains are denoted by grey boxes. The primers used in the RT-PCR assay are indicated by solid lines. reading frame (ORF) that starts at the ATG codon at nucleotide 214 and ends with the termination codon (TGA) at nucleotide 1542, encoding a putative protein of 442 amino acids (49 390 Da). The 3 untranslated region (UTR) contains a putative polyadenylation signal (ATTAAA) at 11 nucleotides from the poly(A) tail. This putative protein contains four domains characteristic of a GTP-binding site at amino acids 227234 (GYTNCGKT), amino acids 275278 (DTIG), amino acids 344347 (NKVD) and amino acids 363366 (SALR). In the review of Kjeldgaard et al. (35), the common structural core of the GTP-binding protein was described. The first domain, GXXXXGK(S/T), appears, with variations, in many nucleoside triphosphate-utilizing enzymes and represents the phosphatebinding loop. The second element, DXXG, is conserved in all GTPases and is implicated in conformational change between the GDP and GTP forms. The third element, NXXD, determines the specificity for the nucleotide guanine. The fourth element, (C/S)AXX, may be essential for the structure of the protein. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequence of PGPL with those in the EMBL database revealed homology (34.5% identity and 43.5% similarity) with F46B6.4 (Z70780), a putative GTP-binding protein of Caenorhabditis elegans (36) (Fig. 6A) and lower homology with hflX (U14003), a GTP-binding protein of Escherichia coli required for high frequency lysogenization by bacteriophage l (37). Analysis of the homologous eukaryotic proteins for cellular sorting signals shows that both the human and C.elegans sequences contain amphipathic a -helices at their N-termini characteristic of mitochondrial matrix proteins. The human protein is highly charged and contains a possible nuclear localization signal at amino acids 205209 (RKKRH). Northern analysis detected three RNA species in all human adult tissues tested. The most abundant transcript of 1900 bp was observed in all tissues analysed, with the highest levels of expression in muscle and heart (Fig. 2). Moreover, two less abundant transcripts (3.5 and 4.8 kb) were observed in all tissues. To assess the transcriptional activity of PGPL on the X chromosome in various cell lines with either active or inactive X chromosomes, RNA was amplified by RT-PCR using a specific primer pair (see Materials and Methods and Fig. 1). RT-PCR amplification of PGPL was detected in both active and inactive X- as well as in the Y-containing hybrid cell lines, 4X cell line, male and female cell lines (Fig. 3). Because the primer pair (917F/917R) amplifies identical products from genomic DNA, RT-PCR assays were performed with and without reverse transcriptase to confirm that amplification was from RNA and not from contaminating DNA in the RNA preparations. Control genes showed the expected amplification products from the active X for the HPRT (hypoxanthine phosphoribosyl transferase) gene, a gene known to undergo X inactivation; from the inactive X for XIST (38) and from the active X, inactive X and Y for MIC2 (39) (Fig. 3). Escape from X inactivation for PGPL was confirmed by RT-PCR assays with two other primer pairs (see Materials and Methods and Fig. 1) based on the cDNA sequence (data not shown). Chromosomal localization of PGPL The regional assignment of the PGPL gene on the X chromosome was inferred from the patterns of segregation of the amplification products in a somatic cell hybrid panel. This panel contained 28 humanhamster or humanmouse cell lines that subdivide the X chromosome into 31 intervals (40). Using this panel, we have mapped the gene in the cytogenetic band Xp22.33, telomeric to DXS1233 (data not shown). By Southern blot hybridization assay, the cDNA detected a 20 kb EcoRI fragment in male and female DNAs as well as in DNAs from hybrid cells containing either a human X chromosome or a human Y chromosome. The same fragment was detected in the hybrid EGMH49 that retains part of the human X chromosome between Xptel/Xq26.3 but not in the hybrid EGMH42 that contains the human X chromosome between DXS1233/Xqtel (data not shown). This result is in accordance with the PCR result. Further mapping of the PGPL gene was achieved by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis. Using two cosmids (U55B10 and U63F1) positive for the PGPL sequence-tagged site (STS) (EST 917) as probes, FISH was performed on DNA from normal males, a patient with a deletion of the distal 1.5 Mb of the PAR region (YU; unpublished data) and a patient with an inversion breakpoint at 500 kb from the telomere [AT, (13)]. The results of this analysis show that PGPL is located in PAR1 at a maximum distance of 500 kb from the telomere. Finer analysis was performed by localizing the PGPL STS on a yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) and cosmid contig of the region (13,41). The STS was positive for cosmids LLNLN0434, U55B10 and U63F1, and places the gene ~ 80110 kb from the telomere (13) (Fig. 4). This makes the PGPL gene the most telomeric gene on the short arms of the X and Y chromosomes. Evolutionary conservation of PGPL Southern zoo blot analysis, using the PGPL cDNA as a probe, was employed to study whether there are PGPL-homologous sequences present in other species. The cDNA clone hybridized to genomic DNA from a number of species including human, monkey, rat, mouse, dog, cow and rabbit (Fig. 5). Such conservation of the PGPL gene argues strongly in favour of an important biological role. In an EST database search to identify ESTs of mouse related to the PGPL gene, we found six ESTs of mouse (see Materials and Methods) which showed significant homology to the PGPL gene. These ESTs were assembled by The EST Assembly Machine program (http://gcg.tigem.it/cgi-bin/uniestass.pl) which gave a putative murine cDNA homologous to PGPL. An assembled fragment of 773 bp was obtained, and comparison of the deduced Figure 4. Relationship between the chromosomal marker map, cosmid contig and the genes in the 700 kb region bounded by the XpYp telomere. (A) Markers are indicated vertically below the solid bar representing genomic DNA, with respect to their distance to the telomere. The telomere is indicated by zero on the left side. (B) Cosmids are positioned below (13). PGPL resides on cosmids U55B10, U63F1 and LLNLN0434 shown by a thick line. A further gene, SHOX, has also been mapped on this chromosomal interval. amino acid sequence with those in the EMBL database revealed the same homologies as that of the PGPL human gene (F46B6.4 and hflX) and supports the hypothesis that the fragment obtained is part of the putative pgpl gene. In fact, comparison of the consensus nucleotide sequence of pgpl with PGPL revealed 71% homology (data not shown), while comparison of the deduced amino acid sequence of pgpl with PGPL revealed high homology (67% identity and 87% similarity) (Fig. 6B). Therefore, a more precise comparison with the full-length pgpl cDNA remains to be determined, together with its chromosomal localization and its expression pattern. We have isolated a novel pseudoautosomal gene called PGPL which is the most telomeric gene on the short arms of the sex chromosomes. This gene shows the consensus sequences which are known to constitute a fingerprint of GTP-binding protein domains. GTPases are conserved molecular switches, built according to a common structural design. Turned on by binding GTP and off by hydrolysing GTP to GDP, the switch mechanism is remarkably versatile, enabling different GTPases to sort and amplify transmembrane signals, direct the synthesis and translocation of proteins, guide vesicular traffic through the cytoplasm, and control proliferation and differentiation of animal cells. The comparison of the human protein against its C.elegans and E.coli homologues suggests that they have the same or very similar functions since the vital regions of the GTP-binding domain is conserved and the regions of homology are almost at equal distances from one another. All of these proteins appear to Figure 6. Comparison of the amino acid sequences. Amino acids are given in the single letter code. The vertical lines represent identical amino acids and the colons represent conservative amino acid changes. (A) Comparison between F46B6.4 of C.elegans and the predicted PGPL peptide. (B) Comparison between the predicted PGPL peptide and the putative homologous murine pgpl. be in their own GTP family and do not appear to be part of the Ras or any other known GTP-binding family. Analysis of the PGPL sequence shows that it contains an N-terminal sequence which can function as a mitochondrial matrix targeting sequence. Functional studies in E.coli suggest that the prokaryotic homologue may form a subunit of a protein complex that may act as a switch controlling the activity of a protease. This GTP-coupled proteolysis system appears to affect the stability of specifically targeted proteins (37). Seven human pseudoautosomal genes in the Xp/Yp PAR have been described to date. MIC2 was the first pseudoautosomal gene described in man, and is a ubiquitously expressed housekeeping gene that encodes a cell surface antigen (7). XE7 appears to be ubiquitously expressed, and alternative splicing results in two very hydrophilic protein isoforms. Presently there is no clue to its biological function (8). The product of ASMT has been suggested as a candidate for psychiatric disorders because of its tissue-specific expression in brain and retina and previous association and linkage studies of pseudoautosomal markers in schizophrenia patients (9). ANT3 represents a highly conserved gene from the ADP/ATP translocase family and thus plays a fundamental role in the energy metabolism of the eukaryotic cell (10). IL3RA and CSF2RA map close and their products share the same b subunit whereas the a subunits are distinct (11,12). Recently, two groups independently have isolated two identical genes, SHOX and PHOG, that were suggested to cause growth failure in idiopathic short stature and Turner syndrome (13,14). The high degree of conservation across several species of the PGPL gene implies an important function for the locus in humans. Moreover, its expression pattern as well as the important biological role carried out by GTP-binding proteins suggest that the gene may not have a specific phenotypic effect in a particular tissue or cell type but may be crucially involved in the vitality of an organism. MATERIALS AND METHODS Southern blot hybridization was carried out in 5 SSPE/5 Denhardts/0.5% SDS at 65 C; the filter was washed once in 2 SSC (300 mM NaCl, 30 mM sodium citrate, pH 7.5), 1% SDS at 65 C and twice in 0.2 SSC, 0.2% SDS at 65 C. The membrane was exposed to XAR-5 film at 80 C for 24 h. Zoo-blot (Clontech) was pre-hybridized and hybridized in 5 SSPE/5 Denhardts/0.5% SDS at 50 C; the membrane was washed once in 2 SSC, 1% SDS at 50 C and once in 0.5 SSC, 0.2% SDS at 50 C. The membrane was exposed to XAR-5 film at 80 C for 24 h. Biotinylated DNA of cosmids U55B10 and U63F1 was hybridized to metaphase chromosomes from stimulated lymphocytes of patients AT (13) and YU (unpublished data) under conditions as described previously (42). The hybridized probe was detected via avidin-conjugated fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC). cDNA and sequence analysis The cDNA library used in this work was from a human uninduced male teratocarcinoma cell line, NT2/D1 (34). The cDNA was subcloned into vector pGEM-4Z (Promega-Biotech), and analysed by dye-terminator cycle sequencing on an Applied Biosystem 373A automated sequencer. The cDNA sequence was deposited in the EMBL database with the accession no. Y14391. Sequence databases were searched using the BLAST sequence alignment program (43). The ESTs for the putative pgpl gene are: mu22h01.r1 (AA197541), mv45g12.r1 (AA198285), mu40e06.r1 (AA209886), ve36b07.r1 (AA423167), ve91a02.r1 (AA432941) and ma24a09.r1 (W50953). These ESTs were assembled by the EST Assemble Machine program (http://gcg.tigem.it/cgi-bin/uniestass.pl). Two human multiple-tissue northern blots (Clontech) were hybridized with the full-length human cDNA, and with a b -actin probe to verify the relative normalization of mRNA amounts. The northern blots were pre-hybridized, hybridized and washed by an ExpessHyb Hybridisation Solution protocol (Clontech) (44). The filters were exposed for 16 h for the PGPL probe and 2 h for the b -actin probe. The panel of somatic cell hybrid lines used in RT-PCR assays comprised two hybrids retaining the active human X chromosome, Hy136c (45) and GM06318B (NIGMS, Camden, NJ); three hybrids retaining an inactive human X chromosome, THX88 (46), Hy70C4T3 (15) and Y.162.5E1T2 (from M. Rocchi) [the hybrid Y.162.5E1T2 retains an inactive human X chromosome, a portion of chromosome 5 (5pter5cen) and a fragment of chromosome 12 (12q24.3qter)]; a hybrid retaining two inactive human X chromosomes, X8/6T2 (from M. Rocchi); and two hybrids retaining the human Y chromosome, GM06317 (NIGMS, Camden, NJ) and Hy853 (47,48). The human lymphoblastoid cell line GM1416 (48,XXXX) (NIGMS, Camden, NJ) and normal male and female cell lines were used as positive controls. The hamster cell line YH21 (45) was used as negative control. The somatic cell hybrid lines used in the Southern blot assay comprised two hybrids: EGMH42 and EGMH49 retain part of the human X chromosome between DXS1233/Xqtel and Xptel/ Xq26.3 respectively (40). RNAs from cell lines were obtained by extraction in guanidinium thiocyanate followed by centrifugation in caesium chloride solution (49). Ten m g of total RNA, 1 reaction buffer (40 mM TrisHCl pH 7.9; 10 mM NaCl; 6 mM MgCl2), 16.5 U of RNasin (Promega) and 7 U of RQ1DNase (Promega) were incubated in 50 m l of total volume at 37 C for 30 min. After incubation, the RNA was purified on Strataclean resin (Stratagene). About 1 m g of total RNA was reverse-transcribed in a 50 m l reaction mixture containing 1 RT buffer (20 mM TrisHCl pH 8.4, 50 mM KCl, 2.5 mM MgCl2), 10 mM dithiothreitol (DTT), 0.5 mM dNTP, 0.2 m g of random hexamers (Boehringer Mannheim) and 200 U of SuperScript reverse transcriptase (Gibco BRL). After a 60 min incubation at 37 C, 1 m g of DNase-free RNase was added and incubated for 10 min at 37 C. The cDNA formed was extracted twice with phenol:chloroform:iso-amylalcohol (25:24:1). The cDNA was then precipitated overnight with 1/10 vol. of 3 M sodium acetate, pH 5.2, and 2.5 vol. of ethanol. Approximately 1 m g of cDNA was recovered. RT-PCR experiments were carried out using 100 ng of RNA and 5 ng of cDNA as the template in a 10 m l PCR reaction containing 1 TNK 100 buffer (50), 0.2 mM dNTP, 0.35 U of AmpliTaq polymerase (Boehringer Mannheim) and 0.5 m M each of the primer sequences derived from the EST. Using a DNA Thermal Cycler MJR (M.J. Research Inc.), we carried out 35 cycles of amplification using a step programme: 1 min at 94 C; 2 min at 60 C; 2 min at 72 C. The PGPL primers used in RT-PCR assay, are: 917F, 5-GTCTCGCTCCCAGCCATTTGCTGGGATGAC-3; 917R, 5-GGAAACATTCCGAGGGAAAGCAGTTCACAG-3; PGPLa, 5-CGGGGAGAGCCTCTGCTGCC-3; PGPLb, 5-CTTTCTTGGTCGGGGCAGCC-3; PGPLe, 5-GGTACACCAACTGCGGAAAG-3; PGPLf, 5-TGTCTCCCCGTCGCCTTCAA-3. We thank Professors D. Schlessinger and O. Zuffardi for helpful suggestions; Professor M. Rocchi and TIGEM core for providing hybrid cell lines; Dr C. Sala for CEPH YAC library screening; Dr C. Migliaccio and A. Terracciano for sequence analysis; and Jonathan Jones and Marie-Christine Meffert for technical assistance. S.M. was supported by a fellowship from The Shriners Hospital for Children. This work was supported by Telethon Italy, grant no. E546 to A.C., a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft grant to G.R. and MURST 40% to A.F. REFERENCES


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Fernando Gianfrancesco, Teresa Esposito, Luisa Montanini, Alfredo Ciccodicola, Steven Mumm, Richard Mazzarella, Ercole Rao, Sabrina Giglio, Gudrun Rappold, Antonino Forabosco. A Novel Pseudoautosomal Gene Encoding a Putative GTP-Binding Protein Resides in the Vicinity of the Xp/Yp Telomere, Human Molecular Genetics, 1998, 407-414, DOI: 10.1093/hmg/7.3.407