Normal mammalian development requires a diploid combination of both haploid parental genomes. Uniparental disomy for certain segments of specific chromosomes results in aberrant development or prenatal lethality, indicating that the parental genomes have undergone modifications during gametogenesis. These modifications result in parent-of-origin specific expression for some genes, a phenomenon called genomic imprinting. Recent work with DNA methyltransferase deficient mice showed that differential methylation is the probable basis of imprinted character of several genes. Screening for endogenous imprinted loci using restriction landmark genomic scanning with methylation sensitive enzymes (RLGS-M) identified eight imprinted RLGS (Irlgs) candidate loci. Molecular analysis of the genomic region of one of the loci (Irlgs2) resulted in the discovery of the paternally imprinted U2afbp-rs gene within a previously identified imprinted region on mouse chromosome 11 (refs 5, 7). This paper describes the characterisation of a novel imprinted RLGS-M locus, Irlgs3, on mouse chromosome 9 (ref. 6). Within this locus we identified the Grf1 (also called Cdc25(Mm)) gene, which is homologous to the RAS-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor gene, CDC25, in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Grf1 is located about 30 kb downstream of the methylation imprinted site, identified by RLGS-M, and shows paternal allele specific expression in mouse brain, stomach and heart. Our results indicate that imprinting may have a role in regulating mitogenic signal transduction pathways during growth and development.
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