We cloned and characterized a mouse cytosolic malate dehydrogenase (cMDHase) (EC 18.104.22.168) gene, which is about 14 × 103 base-pairs long and is interrupted by eight introns. The 5′ and 3′ flanking regions and the exact sizes and boundaries of the exon blocks, including the transcription-initiation sites, were determined. The 5′ end of the gene lacks the TATA and CAAT boxes characteristic of eukaryotic promoters, but contains G + C-rich sequences, one putative binding site for a cellular transcription factor, Sp1, and at least two major transcription-initiation sites. The sequences around the transcription-initiation sites are compatible with the formation of a number of potentially stable stem-loop structures. We compared structural organization of the mouse cMDHase gene with that of the previously characterized mouse mitochondrial MDHase (mMDHase) gene, and found that the conservation of intron positions spreads across much of the two genes. This result suggests that a common ancestral gene for the cytosolic MDHase and the mitochondrial MDHase was broken up by introns, before the divergence. We also compared the nucleotide sequence of the promoter region of the mouse cytosolic MDHase gene with that of the other three mouse genes coding for isoenzymes participating in the malate-aspartate shuttle, i.e. mitochondrial MDHase, cytosolic and mitochondrial aspartate aminotransferases (cAspATase and mAspATase). We found that highly conserved regions are present in the promoter region of the cAspATase gene.
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