Proper, tissue-specific regulation of CYP19, the gene encoding aromatase, the key enzyme of estrogen synthesis, is essential for reproductive processes. Here, we analyzed transcriptional regulation of the porcine CYP19 in female and male gonads and brain by 5’RACE and RT-PCR and comprehensively mapped the pig CYP19 locus by in silico analysis. Our data revealed that the complete locus, including three paralogous copies, CYP19A1, CYP19A2 and CYP19A3, spans approximately 330 kb of the porcine chromosome 1. The locus also harbors the first exon of the Gliomedin gene (GLDN) in reverse orientation. Only transcripts of the CYP19A3 paralog were substantially expressed in gonads and hypothalamus. We identified CYP19A3-associated untranslated exons approximately 160 kb and 50 kb distal from the first codon. The 5´ untranslated regions of transcripts were derived from either a proximal or from one of these distal untranslated exons. Transcripts including only untranslated exons could be amplified from testis, thus suggesting long non-coding transcripts. The data revealed an additional layer of complexity in the regulation of the porcine CYP19 locus. Tissue-specific expression is not only achieved by tissue-and stage-specific expression of the three different CYP19 paralogs, but also by directing the expression of CYP19A3 from different, proximal and distal promoter regions.
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