Centrin is a centrosome component in species from yeast to humans. Here, the mouse centrin 1 gene (Cetn1) is analyzed with respect to its genomic structure, chromosome localization, tissue-specific expression, and phylogenetic relationship to the other mouse centrin genes and their human orthologs. Cetn1 is an intronless gene located on chromosome 18A2 that encodes a 172-amino-acid protein with a predicted molecular mass of 19,696 Da (pI 4.61) and all of the structural features common to centrin. Cetn1 possesses the sequence features of an expressed retroposon: the gene lacks introns, the open reading frame is not interrupted by stop codons, and the coding region is flanked by a pair of direct repeats. Reverse transcriptase- polymerase chain reaction and Northern blot analysis demonstrate that Cetn1 expression is limited exclusively to the testis in adult male mice. Cetn1 expression is first seen in the neonatal testis at 14 days postpartum, reaching adult levels by day 17. These observations provide new insight into the regulation, function, and evolutionary history of centrin in higher eukaryotes.
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