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Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Objective: RGS9 is a member of the family of Regulators of G-Protein Signaling (RGS) proteins defined by the presence of an RGS domain which can accelerate the GTPase-activity of G protein Gα subunits. An insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism of the nucleotide sequence TTTCT (rs3215227) has been identified in the human RGS9 gene, which matches the consensus high affinity binding motif for the ubiquitously expressed RNA binding Polypyrimidine Tract Binding Protein (PTB). In this study, we evaluate the genetic association and functional relevance of this polymorphism in type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Subjects and methods: We genotyped a larger population of 9272 Chinese and Malaysian individuals for the RGS9 I/D polymorphism using TaqMan allelic discrimination protocols. We found that the D allele of the RGS9 polymorphism was associated with a decreased prevalence of obesity in women (P=0.003, OR=0.753 95%CI 0.625-0.906) and girls (P=0.002, OR=0.604 95%CI 0.437-0.835). The association was moderate in boys (P=0.038, OR=0.724 95%CI 0.533-0.983) and not significant in men. Furthermore, we found that the transcript deletion variant exhibited a 10-fold reduction in PTB binding in vitro and that the splicing of the deletion variant was less affected by PTB co-expression.

Conclusions: We provide genetic and biochemical data to support a genetic role of RGS9 in obesity but unlikely in T2D. The RGS9 I/D polymorphism influence the post-transcriptional processing of the gene through an altered affinity for the splicing factor PTB and are associated with obesity.

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