Structure and expression of the mouse beta-hexosaminidase genes, Hexa and Hexb

Genomics. 1994 Jun;21(3):588-96. doi: 10.1006/geno.1994.1318.


Two genes, HEXA and HEXB, encode the alpha- and beta-subunits, respectively, of human beta-hexosaminidase. In the mouse, the corresponding genes are termed Hexa and Hexb. The subunits dimerize to yield three isozymes, beta-hexosaminidase A (alpha beta), B (beta beta), and S (alpha alpha), that have the capacity to degrade a variety of substrates containing beta-linked N-acetylglucosamine and N-acetylgalactosamine residues. Mutations in the HEXA or HEXB gene resulting in a beta-hexosaminidase deficiency cause Tay-Sachs or Sandhoff disease, respectively. As a prelude to the creation of mouse models of these lysosomal storage diseases, we have characterized the molecular biology of the mouse beta-hexosaminidase system. Protein sequences derived from the cloned Hexa and Hexb cDNAs were 55% identical to each other and were also very similar to the cognate human sequences: 84% sequence identity with human HEXA and 75% with HEXB. The mouse hexosaminidase subunits, when expressed in HeLa cells from the cDNAs, displayed specificity toward synthetic substrates similar to the human subunits. The Hexa and Hexb genes were 25 and 22 kb in length, respectively. Each gene was divided into 14 exons, with the positions of introns precisely matching those of the corresponding human genes. The 5' flanking regions of the mouse genes demonstrated promoter activity as ascertained by their ability to drive chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene expression in transfected NIH 3T3 cells. The sequences of these regulatory regions were G+C-rich in the 200 bp upstream of the respective initiator ATGs. Several putative promoter elements were present, including Sp1, AP2, CAAT, and TATA motifs.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase / analysis
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase / biosynthesis
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Exons
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Library
  • Genomic Library
  • HeLa Cells
  • Hexosaminidase A
  • Hexosaminidase B
  • Humans
  • Introns
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA / genetics
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transfection
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases / biosynthesis
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases / genetics*


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase
  • Hexosaminidase A
  • Hexosaminidase B
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U07631
  • GENBANK/U07633
  • GENBANK/U07709
  • GENBANK/U07710
  • GENBANK/U07711
  • GENBANK/U07712
  • GENBANK/U07713
  • GENBANK/U07714
  • GENBANK/U07715
  • GENBANK/U07716
  • GENBANK/U07717
  • GENBANK/U07718
  • GENBANK/U07719
  • GENBANK/U07720
  • GENBANK/U07721
  • GENBANK/U07722
  • GENBANK/U07723
  • GENBANK/U07724
  • GENBANK/U07725
  • GENBANK/U07726
  • GENBANK/U07727
  • GENBANK/U07728
  • GENBANK/U07729
  • GENBANK/U07730
  • GENBANK/U07731
  • GENBANK/U07732
  • GENBANK/U07733
  • GENBANK/U07734
  • GENBANK/U07735
  • GENBANK/U07736