Alternative splicing and promoter use in the human GABRA2 gene

Huijun Tian, Hui Ju Chen, Tiffeny H. Cross, Howard J. Edenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


GABAA receptors mediate the majority of the fast synaptic inhibition in the mammalian brain. They are the targets of several important drugs, including benzodiazepines, which are used as anxiolytics, sedatives, anti-convulsants, and in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Non-coding variations in GABRA2, the gene encoding the α2 subunit, are associated with the risk for alcoholism, suggesting that regulatory differences are important. GABRA2 mRNAs from whole human brain and from three brain regions were examined for evidence of alternative splicing using reverse transcription-PCR and DNA sequencing. A complex pattern of alternative splicing and alternative promoter use of the human GABRA2 mRNA was demonstrated. There are four major isoforms consisting of combinations of two alternative 5′ and 3′ exons, as well as minor isoforms lacking exon 4 or exon 8. The alternative 5′ exons each lie downstream of a functional promoter sequence, as shown by transient transfection assays. The promoter activities of naturally occurring haplotypes differed, indicating genetic differences in gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-183
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 13 2005


  • γ-aminobutyric acid
  • Alternative splicing
  • GABA receptor α2-subunit
  • Neurotransmitter receptor
  • Promoter function
  • Transcriptional regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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