[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously identified a partial expressed sequence tag clone corresponding to NARG2 in a screen for genes that are expressed in developing neurons and misexpressed in transgenic mice that lack functional N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors. Here we report the first characterization of the mouse and human NARG2 genes, cDNAs and the proteins that they encode. Mouse and human NARG2 consist of 988 and 982 amino acids, respectively, and share 74% identity. NARG2 does not display significant homology to other known genes, and lower organisms such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Drosophila melanogaster and Fugu rubripes appear to lack NARG2 orthologs. In vitro translation of the mouse cDNA yields a 150 kDa protein. NARG2 localizes to the nucleus in transfected cells, and deletion of a canonical basic nuclear localization signal suggests that this and other sequences in the protein cooperate for nuclear targeting. NARG2 consists of 16 exons in both mice and humans, 11 of which are identical in length, and alternative splicing is evident in both species. Exon 10 is the largest, and exhibits a much higher rate of nonsynonymous nucleotide substitution than the others. In addition, NARG2 contains (S/T)PXX motifs (11 in mouse NARG2, six in human NARG2). Northern blot analysis and RNase protection demonstrated that NARG2 is expressed at relatively high levels in dividing and immature cells, and that it is down-regulated upon terminal differentiation. The results indicate that NARG2 encodes a novel (S/T)PXX motif-containing nuclear protein, and suggest that NARG2 may play an important role in the early development of a number of different cell types.
European Journal of Biochemistry 01/2005; 271(23-24):4629-37. DOI:10.1111/j.1432-1033.2004.04414.x · 3.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously identified mNAT1 (murine N-terminal acetyltransferase 1) as an embryonic gene that is expressed in the developing brain and subsequently down-regulated, in part, by the onset of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor function. By searching the data base we discovered a second closely related gene, mNAT2. mNAT1 and mNAT2 are highly homologous to yeast NAT1, a gene known to regulate entry into the G0 phase of the cell cycle. However, in the absence of further characterization, including evidence that mammalian homologues of NAT1 encode functional acetyltransferases, the significance of this relationship has been unclear. Here we focus on mNAT1. Biochemical analysis demonstrated that mNAT1 and its evolutionarily conserved co-subunit, mARD1, assemble to form a functional acetyltransferase. Transfection of mammalian cells with mNAT1 and mARD1 followed by immunofluorescent staining revealed that these proteins localize to the cytoplasm in both overlapping and separate compartments. In situ hybridization demonstrated that throughout brain development mNAT1 and mARD1 are highly expressed in areas of cell division and migration and are down-regulated as neurons differentiate. Finally, mNAT1 and mARD1 are expressed in proliferating mouse P19 embryonic carcinoma cells; treatment of these cells with retinoic acid initiates exit from the cell cycle, neuronal differentiation, and down-regulation of mNAT1 and mARD1 as the NMOA receptor 1 gene is induced. The results provide the first direct evidence that vertebrate homologues of NAT1 and ARD1 form an evolutionarily conserved N-terminal acetyltransferase and suggest that expression and down-regulation of this enzyme complex plays an important role in the generation and differentiation of neurons.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian brain development requires the transmission of electrical signals between neurons via the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) class of glutamate receptors. However, little is known about how NMDA receptors carry out this role. Here we report the first genes shown to be regulated by physiological levels of NMDA receptor function in developing neurons in vivo: NMDA receptor-regulated gene 1 (NARG1), NARG2, and NARG3. These genes share several striking regulatory features. All three are expressed at high levels in the neonatal brain in regions of neuronal proliferation and migration, are dramatically down-regulated during early postnatal development, and are down-regulated by NMDA receptor function. NARG2 and NARG3 appear to be novel, while NARG1 is the mammalian homologue of a yeast N-terminal acetyltransferase that regulates entry into the G(o) phase of the cell cycle. The results suggest that highly specific NMDA receptor-dependent regulation of gene expression plays an important role in the transition from proliferation of neuronal precursors to differentiation of neurons.