A novel primate specific gene, CEI, is located in the homeobox gene IRXA2 promoter in Homo sapiens

Qingfa Wu, Niels Tommerup, San Ming Wang, Lars Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The Iroquois (IRX) homeobox gene family consists of six highly conserved transcription factors that are of importance for normal embryonic development. They are organized in two gene clusters in human, one on 5p15.33 and the other one on 16q12.2, respectively, and both the organization and the structure of the genes are highly conserved. An open reading frame coding for an unknown protein is identified in the promoter of IRXA2 on chromosome 5p. This new gene is composed of four exons and it is orientated in a head-to-head manner to IRXA2. Only a short 851 bp segment separates the two translation start codons and the two genes may share a bi-directional promoter. This bi-directional promoter is embedded in a large CpG-island, that also continues into both genes. RT-PCR analysis of the new gene reveals two alternative mRNA transcripts and a third mRNA transcript can be predicted from EST clones. The expression profile of the gene analysed in 9 different human tissues reveals that it is expressed in a coordinated fashion with IRXA2, which has led to the name CEI (Coordinated Expression to IRXA2). The CEI protein lacks homology to any known protein or protein domain in public databases, and a putative amino terminal signal peptide suggests the protein is secreted or ER compartment located. The gene is only found in the human and the chimpanzee genome, but not in the mouse or the rat genome, which suggests that CEI is unique for higher primates. As the identified bi-directional promoter not being a relic of an ancient compact genome, CEI may play an important role in the evolution of higher primates in coordination with the IRX genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-173
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 26 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Alternative transcript
  • Bi-directional promoter
  • Evolution
  • Gene expression profiling
  • Iroquois protein
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'A novel primate specific gene, CEI, is located in the homeobox gene IRXA2 promoter in Homo sapiens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this