We have isolated and sequenced SUPT6H and Supt6h, the human and murine homologues of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Caenorhabditis elegans genes SPT6 (P using 1603 aa = 6.7 e-95) and emb-5 (P using 1603 aa = 7.0 e- 288), respectively. The human and murine SPT6 homologues are virtually identical, as they share >98% identity and >99% similarity at the protein level. The derived amino acid sequences of these two genes predict a 1603-aa protein (human) and a 1726-bp protein (mouse), respectively. There were several known features, including a highly acidic 5'-region, a degenerate SH2 domain, and a leucine zipper. These features are consistent with a nuclear protein that regulates transcription, whose extreme conservation underscores the likely importance of this gene in mammalian development. Expression of human and murine SPT6 homologues was analyzed by Northern blotting, which revealed a 7.0-kb transcript that was expressed constitutively. The SPT6 homologue was mapped to chromosome 17q11.2 in human by somatic cell hybrid analysis and in situ hybridization. These data indicate that SUPT6H and Supt6h are functionally analogous to SPT6 and emb-5 and may therefore regulate transcription through establishment or maintenance of chromatin structure.
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