GTP cyclohydrolase I is the first and rate-limiting enzyme for the biosynthesis of tetrahydrobiopterin in mammals. Previously, we reported three species of human GTP cyclohydrolase I cDNA in a human liver cDNA library (Togari, A., Ichinose, H., Matsumoto, S., Fujita, K., and Nagatsu, T. (1992) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 187, 359-365). Furthermore, very recently, we found that the GTP cyclohydrolase I gene is causative for hereditary progressive dystonia with marked diurnal fluctuation, also known as DOPA- responsive dystonia (Ichinose, H., Ohye, T., Takahashi, E., Seki, N., Hori, T., Segawa, M., Nomura, Y., Endo, K., Tanaka, H., Tsuji, S., Fujita, K., and Nagatsu, T. (1994) Nature Genetics 8, 236-242). To clarify the mechanisms that regulate transcription of the GTP cyclohydrolase I gene and to generate multiple species of mRNA, we isolated genomic DNA clones for the human and mouse GTP cyclohydrolase I genes. Structural analysis of the isolated clones revealed that the GTP cyclohydrolase I gene is encoded by a single copy gene and is composed of six exons spanning ~30 kilobases. We sequenced all exon/intron boundaries of the human and mouse genes. Structural analysis also demonstrated that the heterogeneity of GTP cyclohydrolase I mRNA is caused by an alternative usage of the splicing acceptor site at the sixth exert. The transcription start site of the mouse GTP cyclohydrolase I gene and the 5'- flanking sequences of the mouse and human genes were determined. We performed regional mapping of the mouse gene by fluorescence in situ hybridization, and the mouse GTP cyclohydrolase I gene was assigned to region C2-3 of mouse chromosome 14. We identified missense mutations in patients with GTP cyclohydrolase I deficiency and expressed mutated enzymes in Escherichia coli to confirm alterations in the enzyme activity.
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