Molecular cloning and characterization of rat karyopherin alpha 1 gene: structure and expression.

PMID 15094201


Dopamine denervation in the striata of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) leads to changes in neural plasticity. However, the mechanisms leading to the changes are still poorly understood. In an effort to study the molecular events in the denervated striatum, we identified and cloned rat karyopherin alpha 1 (KPNA1), a member of the importin/karyopherin alpha (KPNA) family. DNA sequence analysis revealed that the full-length cDNA, encoding rat KPNA1, was 4975 bp with a short 5'-untranslated region (UTR) of 70 bp, a putative coding sequence of 1617 bp, and an unusually long 3'-UTR of 3266 bp. The gene shared a high degree of similarity with its mouse and human homologs at both cDNA and protein levels. By computational analysis of its genomic sequence, the transcription unit was shown to span a 44-kb region and consist of 13 exons varying in size from 89 (6th exon) to 3454 bp (13th exon), and 12 introns varying in size from 0.3 to 8.9 kb. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis demonstrated that KPNA1 transcript existed in various adult tissues. Both Northern blot and semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that the expression level of KPNA1 mRNA was altered in the denervated striatum post-lesion in a time-dependent manner, reaching the maximum at 2 weeks post-lesion. Our results suggest involvement of KPNA1 in the striatal responses to denervation following 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced lesion.

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