The human DNA mismatch repair gene homologue hMSH2 is involved in hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer. We isolated and characterized the 5' upstream region, about 4.4kbp, of the hMSH2 gene. This region contains CpG islands and a number of elements involved in constitutive expression, but there is no TATA-box nearby the transcription start points. This is the typical structure for many promoters of housekeeping genes. Alu sequences and mononucleotide repeats are clustered in this region and there are two transcription start points. Deletion analysis revealed that less than 300bp was sufficient to initiate transcription. Although no mutation that influences promoter activity of this region was found, a polymorphism was detected by PCR-RFLP analysis. Because informative cases (C/T heterozygous) were relatively high ( approximately 30%), this polymorphism is suitable for a marker to examine allelic losses.
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