Although a relatively small part of the human genome contains protein encoding genes, the latest data on the discovery of alternative open reading frames (ORFs) in conventional mRNAs has highlighted the expanded coding potential of these genes. Until recently, it was believed that each mRNA transcript encodes a single protein. Recent proteogenomics data indicate the existence of exceptions to this rule, which greatly changes the usual meaning of the term “gene.” The topology of a gene with overlapping ORFs resembles a Russian “matreshka” toy. There are two levels of “matreshka” genetic systems. First, the chromosomal level, when the “nested” gene is located within introns and exons of the main chromosomal gene, both in the sense and antisense orientation relative to the external gene. The second level is a mature mRNA molecule containing overlapping ORFs or an ORF with an alternative start codon. In this review, we will focus on the properties of “matreshka” genes of the second type and methods for their detection and verification. Particular attention is paid to the biological properties of the polypeptides encoded by these genes.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 31, 2016
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