Asparagine synthetase (ASNS) is an enzyme expressed ubiquitously in mammalian cells. Here, we discovered two 14-bp tandem repeat (2R, wild-type) sequences in the first intron of the gene. The 14-bp sequence is similar to the three GC-boxes (GC-I, -II, and -III) found in the promoter region of the ASNS gene, as well as, the binding site of transcription factor Sp-1. Approximately 75% of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) samples had the 2R sequence in both allele; however, 20% and 3% ALL samples had three (3R) and four (4R) 14-bp tandem repeats in one allele, respectively; the other allele had 2R. The tandem repeat sequence was not specific to the leukemia cells but represents a novel germline polymorphism. Interestingly, the 14-bp sequence functioned as a transcriptional enhancer element as shown by reporter analysis and formed a protein-DNA complex in vitro. Our data for the first time show that the ASNS gene has tandem repeated sequences as a polymorphism, and it can function as a transcriptional element; increased number of tandem repeat producing increased activity. Clinical significance in ALL requires further studies.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Asparagine synthetase gene, Polymorphism, l-Asparaginase
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2008.10.022, hdl.handle.net/1765/14143
Citation
Akagi, T., Yin, D., Kawamata, N., Bartram, C.R., Hofmann, W.K., Song, J.H., … Koeffler, H.P.. (2008). Functional analysis of a novel DNA polymorphism of a tandem repeated sequence in the asparagine synthetase gene in acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells. Leukemia Research: clinical and laboratory studies, 33(7), 991–996. doi:10.1016/j.leukres.2008.10.022