Nucleic acids research

Two primate-specific small non-protein-coding RNAs in transgenic mice: neuronal expression, subcellular localization and binding partners.

PMID 17175535


In a rare occasion a single chromosomal locus was targeted twice by independent Alu-related retroposon insertions, and in both cases supported neuronal expression of the respective inserted genes encoding small non-protein coding RNAs (npcRNAs): BC200 RNA in anthropoid primates and G22 RNA in the Lorisoidea branch of prosimians. To avoid primate experimentation, we generated transgenic mice to study neuronal expression and protein binding partners for BC200 and G22 npcRNAs. The BC200 gene, with sufficient upstream flanking sequences, is expressed in transgenic mouse brain areas comparable to those in human brain, and G22 gene, with upstream flanks, has a similar expression pattern. However, when all upstream regions of the G22 gene were removed, expression was completely abolished, despite the presence of intact internal RNA polymerase III promoter elements. Transgenic BC200 RNA is transported into neuronal dendrites as it is in human brain. G22 RNA, almost twice as large as BC200 RNA, has a similar subcellular localization. Both transgenically expressed npcRNAs formed RNP complexes with poly(A) binding protein and the heterodimer SRP9/14, as does BC200 RNA in human. These observations strongly support the possibility that the independently exapted npcRNAs have similar functions, perhaps in translational regulation of dendritic protein biosynthesis in neurons of the respective primates.