The GNAS Locus: Quintessential Complex Gene Encoding Gsα, XLαs, and other Imprinted Transcripts

Author(s): Murat Bastepe

Journal Name: Current Genomics

Volume 8 , Issue 6 , 2007

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The currently estimated number of genes in the human genome is much smaller than previously predicted. As an explanation for this disparity, most individual genes have multiple transcriptional units that represent a variety of biologically important gene products. GNAS exemplifies a gene of such complexity. One of its products is the α-subunit of the stimulatory heterotrimeric G protein (Gsα), a ubiquitous signaling protein essential for numerous different cellular responses. Loss-of-function and gain-of-function mutations within Gsα-coding GNAS exons are found in various human disorders, including Albrights hereditary osteodystrophy, pseudohypoparathyroidism, fibrous dysplasia of bone, and some tumors of different origin. While Gsα expression in most tissues is biallelic, paternal Gsα expression is silenced in a small number of tissues, playing an important role in the development of phenotypes associated with GNAS mutations. Additional products derived exclusively from the paternal GNAS allele include XLαs, a protein partially identical to Gsα, and two non-coding RNA molecules, the A/B transcript and the antisense transcript. The maternal GNAS allele leads to NESP55, a chromogranin-like neuroendocrine secretory protein. In vivo animal models have demonstrated the importance of each of the exclusively imprinted GNAS products in normal mammalian physiology. However, although one or more of these products are also disrupted by most naturally occurring GNAS mutations, their roles in disease pathogenesis remain unknown. To further our understanding of the significance of this gene in physiology and pathophysiology, it will be important to elucidate the cellular roles and the mechanisms regulating the expression of each GNAS product.

Keywords: GNAS antisense transcript, GTPase, NESP55, McCune-Albright Syndrome, Pseudohypoparathyroidism, Endocrine Adenomas

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Article Details

Year: 2007
Page: [398 - 414]
Pages: 17
DOI: 10.2174/138920207783406488
Price: $65

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