Evidence for alternate splicing within the mRNA transcript encoding the DNA damage response kinase ATR

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Proper cellular response to genotoxic insult often requires the activity of one or more members of a family of high-molecular weight protein kinases referred to as phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PIK)-like proteins. While catalytic activity is an indispensable part of PIK-like protein function, little is currently known about factors that control their activity and/or functions. This deficiency stems, in large part, from our lack of knowledge concerning functionally significant subdomains within the large non-catalytic domain of these proteins. We have determined that the transcript encoding the PIK-like protein ATR undergoes alternate splicing within the region of the mRNA encoding its non-catalytic domain. This conclusion is based on the sequencing of a human expressed sequence tag clone encoding a portion of the ATR cDNA, and is supported by the results of reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays conducted on total and polyA + RNA, as well as sequencing of cloned RT-PCR products. Cloning and sequencing of a segment of human genomic DNA indicated that this event arises from splicing of a single 192 bp exon within the ATR gene. Analysis of several human tissues indicated that alternate ATR transcripts are differentially expressed, suggesting that this region of the ATR protein may be of functional importance. © 2001 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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