The three members of the mammalian fringe gene family, Manic fringe (Mfng), Radical fringe (Rfng), and Lunatic fringe (Lfng), were identified on the basis of their similarity to Drosophila fringe (fng) and their participation in the evolutionarily conserved Notch receptor signaling pathway. Fringe genes encode pioneer secretory proteins with weak similarity to glycosyltransferases. Both expression patterns and functional studies support an important role for Fringe genes in patterning during embryonic development and an association with cellular transformation. We have now further characterized the expression and determined the chromosomal localization and genomic structure of the mouse Mfng, Rfng, and Lfng genes; the genomic structure and conceptual open reading frame of the human RFNG gene; and the refined chromosomal localization of the three human fringe genes. The mouse Fringe genes are expressed in the embryo and in adult tissues. The mouse and human Fringe family members map to three different chromosomes in regions of conserved synteny: Mfng maps to mouse Chr 15, and MFNG maps to human Chr 22q13.1 in the region of two cancer-associated loci; Lfng maps to mouse Chr 5, and LFNG maps to human Chr 7p22; Rfng maps to mouse Chr 11, and RFNG maps to human Chr 17q25 in the minimal region for a familial psoriasis susceptibility locus. Characterization of the genomic loci of the Fringe gene family members reveals a conserved genomic organization of 8 exons. Comparative analysis of mammalian Fringe genomic organization suggests that the first exon is evolutionarily labile and that the Fringe genes have a genomic structure distinct from those of previously characterized glycosyltransferases.
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