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Isolation and sequence of a cDNA clone which contains the complete coding region of rat phenylalanine hydroxylase. Structural homology with tyrosine hydroxylase, glucocorticoid regulation, and use of alternate polyadenylation sites

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-07, 04:12 authored by HHM Dahl, Julian MercerJulian Mercer
Screening of a rat liver cDNA expression library constructed in the vector λgt11 with an affinity purified antiserum to rat phenylalanine hydroxylase has resulted in the isolation of two clones which contain the complete coding region (1362 base pairs) of phenylalanine hydroxylase and the entire 3'-untranslated region (562 base pairs). From the nucleotide sequence we deduced the amino acid sequence of the enzyme. The molecular weight is 51,632 (452 amino acids). The rat enzyme is highly homologous to human phenylalanine hydroxylase. The two proteins differ in only 36 amino acids (92% homology), many of which are conservative changes. A dot matrix computer program was used to analyze regions of homology with the amino acid sequence of rat tyrosine hydroxylase. Considerable homology was detected from amino acid 140 in the rat enzyme to the C terminus, but little or no homology was apparent in the N-terminal region. The cDNA clone was used to determine the levels of phenylalanine hydroxylase mRNA in rat tissues using RNA blot hybridization. Two mRNA species were detected, with approximate lengths of 2,000 and 2,400 nucleotides, which appear to derive from use of alternate polyadenylation signals. No difference in mRNA size was found in rats which have different phenylalanine hydroxylase alleles. The kidney was found to contain about 10% of the mRNA found in the liver, and no phenylalanine hydroxylase mRNA was detected in rat brain. Reuber H4 hepatoma cells were also analyzed for phenylalanine hydroxylase mRNA. The parental cells contained mRNA species of the same sizes as in rat liver. Incubation in 10-6 M hydrocortisone for 24 h resulted in an 18-fold increase in the mRNA level. Mutant hepatoma cells which express very little phenylalanine hydroxylase contained less than 5% of the parental mRNA, but the gene still responded to hydrocortisone.



Journal of Biological Chemistry






United States










Elsevier BV