Myosin light-chain 1 and 3 gene has two structurally distinct and differentially regulated promoters evolving at different rates.


DNA fragments located 10 kilobases apart in the genome and containing, respectively, the first myosin light chain 1 (MLC1f) and the first myosin light chain 3 (MLC3f) specific exon of the rat myosin light chain 1 and 3 gene, together with several hundred base pairs of upstream flanking sequences, have been shown in runoff in vitro transcription assays to direct initiation of transcription at the cap sites of MLC1f and MLC3f mRNAs used in vivo. These results establish the presence of two separate, functional promoters within that gene. A comparison of the nucleotide sequence of the rat MLC1f/3f gene with the corresponding sequences from mouse and chicken shows that: the MLC1f promoter regions have been highly conserved up to position -150 from the cap site while the MLC3f promoter regions display a very poor degree of homology and even the absence or poor conservation of typical eucaryotic promoter elements such as TATA and CAT boxes; the exon/intron structure of this gene has been completely conserved in the three species; and corresponding exons, except for the regions encoding most of the 5' and 3' untranslated sequences, show greater than 75% homology while corresponding introns are similar in size but considerably divergent in sequence. The above findings indicate that the overall structure of the MLC1f/3f genes has been maintained between avian and mammalian species and that these genes contain two functional and widely spaced promoters. The fact that the structures of the alkali light chain gene from Drosophila melanogaster and of other related genes of the troponin C supergene family resemble a MLC3f gene without an upstream promoter and first exon strongly suggests that the present-day MLC1f/3f genes of higher vertebrates arose from a primordial alkali light chain gene through the addition of a far-upstream MLC1f-specific promoter and first exon. The two promoters have evolved at different rates, with the MLC1f promoter being more conserved than the MLC3f promoter. This discrepant evolutionary rate might reflect different mechanisms of promoter activation for the transcription of MLC1f and MLC3f RNA.


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@article{Strehler1985MyosinL1, title={Myosin light-chain 1 and 3 gene has two structurally distinct and differentially regulated promoters evolving at different rates.}, author={Emanuel E. Strehler and Muthu Periasamy and M A Strehler-Page and Bernado Nadal-Ginard}, journal={Molecular and cellular biology}, year={1985}, volume={5 11}, pages={3168-82} }