Complex organisation of the 5'-end of the human glycine tRNA synthetase gene.

PMID 9524218


Glycine tRNA synthetase (glyRS) catalyses the addition of the amino acid glycine to its cognate tRNA molecules. In the silk moth worm Bombyx mori, this gene is subject to complex transcriptional regulation because of the predominance of glycine in silk. In vertebrates, glycine is a major constituent of collagen but there have been no studies of glyRS regulation. In this study we have isolated and mapped a genomic clone containing the 5'-end of glyRS. Primer extension studies identified only one transcriptional start point (TSP) in three different cell lines. Expression of the transcript identified may be regulated translationally because it contains five potential initiation codons, three of which are in good context for initiation. The most 3' of the potential initiation codons has previously been predicted to be the initiating codon for cytoplasmic glyRS. Two of the upstream codons are in-frame with this codon, and both are predicted to extend the N-terminus of glyRS to include a mitochondrial targeting sequence. Sequencing of genomic DNA surrounding the TSP showed features common to the promoters of housekeeping genes, as well as a canonical TATA box at the unusual position of +9. Surprisingly, promoter activity in vitro was not specified by a 1.9 kb genomic fragment containing the TSP and TATA box, but by a contiguous 0.4 kb fragment immediately downstream. These studies suggest that the transcription of glyRS from a single start point requires downstream promoter elements.