Peg3 (paternally expressed gene 3) is the first imprinted gene detected in the proximal region of mouse chromosome 7. Because imprinting is a trait that is generally conserved among mammals, and imprinted domains generally encompass several adjacent genes, expression patterns and chromosomal environment of the human counterpart of Peg3 are of special interest. In this study we have localized human PEG3 ~ 2 Mb proximal of the telomere of chromosome 19q, within a region known to carry large numbers of tandemly clustered Kruppel-type zinc finger-containing (ZNF) genes. Peg3 also encodes a Kruppel-type ZNF protein but one that is distinguished from other ZNF gene products by the fact that it carries two novel proline-rich motifs. Comparison between mouse Peg3 and partial human PEG3 gene sequences revealed a high level of conservation between the two species, despite the fact that one of the two proline-rich repeats is absent from the human gene. Our data demonstrate that the human gene is expressed at highest levels in ovary and placenta; mouse Peg3, by contrast, is transcribed at highest levels in the adult brain. These comparative mapping, sequencing, and expression data provide the first clues to the potential activities of PEG3, and generate new tools to aid in the analysis of structure and function of a potentially new imprinted domain located in human chromosome 19q13.4 and mouse chromosome 7.
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