Characterization of the Complete Genomic Structure of the HumanWNT-5AGene, Functional Analysis of its Promoter, Chromosomal Mapping, and Expression in Early Human Embryogenesis

Keith G. Danielson, Jhuma Pillarisetti, Isabelle R. Cohen, Bijan Sholehvar, Kay Huebner, Ling-Jim Ng, John M. Nicholls, Kathryn S.E. Cheah, Renato V. Iozzo
1995 Journal of Biological Chemistry  
We report the complete genomic organization of the human WNT-5A gene, which encodes a cysteine-rich growth factor involved in cell-cell signaling during growth and differentiation. The gene comprises five exons with the terminal exon coding for a large 3-untranslated region of Ϸ6.5 kilobase pairs and utilizes multiple polyadenylation signals to generate at least four discrete transcripts. We discovered a new leader exon interrupted by a 411-base pair intron that was retained in our original
more » ... cloning. The promoter region was located in a GpC-rich island and harbored numerous cis-acting elements including several GC boxes and Sp1, AP1, and AP2 binding motifs. It lacked TATA or CAAT boxes typical of housekeeping and growth factor genes. In support of this, primer extension revealed two transcription start sites. Transient cell transfection assays showed functional promoter activity for the 3.9-kilobase pair 5-flanking region. Interestingly, internal and 5 deletions revealed that the distal promoter was not required for full transcriptional activity and that the first 631 base pairs of WNT-5A harbored the strongest promoter activity. Using a panel of rodent-human hybrid DNAs carrying portions of chromosome 3p, we mapped the gene to 3p14.2-p21.1, between a constitutional and a familial renal cell carcinoma-associated translocation. In situ hybridization analyses of early human embryos at 28 -42 days of gestation revealed that WNT-5A transcripts were not restricted to the developing brain and limbs but were also observed in the mesenchyme bordering the pharyngeal clefts and pouches and in the developing gonads and kidneys. The relatively high expression in the celomic epithelium and in the precursors of follicles and seminiferous tubules suggest a novel role for WNT-5A in germ-cell differentiation. This study provides the molecular basis for discerning the regulation of the WNT-5A gene and offers the opportunity to investigate genetic disorders linked to this important gene.
doi:10.1074/jbc.270.52.31225 pmid:8537388 fatcat:kb5pfkeppjb7bojbxwrcopp3hy