In human and mouse, most imprinted genes are arranged in chromosomal clusters. Their linked organization suggests co-ordinated mechanisms controlling imprinting and gene expression. The identification of local and regional elements responsible for the epigenetic control of imprinted gene expression will be important in understanding the molecular basis of diseases associated with imprinting such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome. We have established a complete contig of clones along the murine imprinting cluster on distal chromosome 7 syntenic with the human imprinting region at 11p15.5 associated with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome. The cluster comprises ~ 1 Mb of DNA, contains at least eight imprinted genes and is demarcated by the two maternally expressed genes Tssc3 (Ipl) and H19 which are directly flanked by the non-imprinted genes Nap1l4(Nap2) and Rpl23/ L23mrp), respectively. We also localized Kcnq1 (Kvlqt1) and Cd81(Tapa-1) between Cdkn1c(p57(Kip2)) and Mash2. The mouse Kcnq1 gene is maternally expressed in most fetal but biallelically transcribed in most neonatal tissues, suggesting relaxation of imprinting during development. Our findings indicate conserved control mechanisms between mouse and human, but also reveal some structural and functional differences. Our study opens the way for a systematic analysis of the cluster by genetic manipulation in the mouse which will lead to animal models of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome and childhood tumours.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology