PEX, a phosphate-regulating gene with homology to endopeptidases on the X chromosome, was recently identified as the candidate gene for X-linked hypophosphatemia. In the present study, we cloned mouse and human Pex/PEX cDNAs encoding part of the 5' untranslated region, the protein coding region, and the entire 3' untranslated region, determined the tissue distribution of Pex/PEX mRNA, and characterized the Pex mutation in the murine Hyp homologue of the human disease. Using the reverse transcriptase/polymerase chain reaction (RT/PCR) and ribonuclease protection assays, we found that Pex/PEX mRNA is expressed predominantly in human fetal and adult mouse calvaria and long bone. With RNA from Hyp mouse bone, an RT/PCR product was generated with 5' but not 3' Pex primer pairs and a protected Pex mRNA fragment was detected with 5' but not 3' Pex riboprobes by ribonuclease protection assay. Analysis of the RT/PCR product derived from Hyp bone RNA revealed an aberrant Pex transcript with retention of intron sequence downstream from nucleotide 1302 of the Pex cDNA. Pex mRNA was not detected on Northern blots of poly (A)+ RNA from Hyp bone, while a low-abundance Pex transcript of approximately 7 kb was apparent in normal bone. Southern analysis of genomic DNA from Hyp mice revealed the absence of hybridizing bands with cDNA probes from the 3' region of the Pex cDNA. We conclude that Pex/PEX is a low-abundance transcript that is expressed predominantly in bone of mice and humans and that a large deletion in the 3' region of the Pex gene is present in the murine Hyp homologue of X-linked hypophosphatemia.
L Beck, Y Soumounou, J Martel, G Krishnamurthy, C Gauthier, C G Goodyer, H S Tenenhouse