Inosine-5 '-monophosphate dehydrogenase: Regulation of expression and role in cellular proliferation and T lymphocyte activation PROGRESS IN NUCLEIC ACID RESEARCH AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, VOL 61 Zimmermann, A. G., Gu, J. J., Laliberte, J., Mitchell, B. S. 1998; 61: 181-209


Guanine nucleotide synthesis is essential for the maintenance of normal cell growth and function, as well as for cellular transformation and immune responses. The expression of two genes encoding human inosine-5'-monophosphate dehyrogenase (IMPDH) type I and type II results in the translation of catalytically indistinguishable enzymes that control the rate-limiting step in the de novo synthesis of guanine nucleotides. Cellular IMPDH activity is increased more than 10-fold in activated peripheral blood T lymphocytes and is attributable to the increased expression of both the type I and type II enzymes. In contrast, abrogation of cellular IMPDH activity by selective inhibitors prevents T lymphocyte activation and establishes a requirement for elevated IMPDH activity in T lymphocytic responses. In order to assess the molecular mechanisms governing the expression of the IMPDH type I and type II genes in resting and activated peripheral blood T lymphocytes, we have cloned the human IMPDH type I and type II genes and characterized their genomic organization and their respective 5'-flanking regions. Both genes contain 14 highly conserved exons that vary in size from 49 to 207 base pairs. However, the intron structures are completely divergent, resulting in disparities in gene length (18 kilobases for type I and 5.8 kilobases for type II). In addition, the 5'-regulatory sequences are highly divergent; expression of the IMPDH type I gene is controlled by three distinct promoters in a tissue specific manner while the type II gene is regulated by a single promoter and closely flanked in the 5' region by a gene of unknown function. The conservation of the IMPDH type I and type II coding sequence in the presence of highly divergent 5'-regulatory sequences points to a multifactorial control of enzyme expression and suggests that tissue-specific and/or developmentally specific regulation of expression may be important. Delineation of these regulatory mechanisms will aid in the elucidation of the signaling events that ultimately lead to the synthesis of guanine nucleotides required for cellular entry into S phase and the initiation of DNA replication.

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