Alternative RNA processing: determining neuronal phenotype

Science  21 Sep 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4668, pp. 1315-1320
DOI: 10.1126/science.6089345


On the basis of an analysis of the human and rat calcitonin genes and of a related gene, alternative RNA processing represents a developmental strategy of the brain to dictate tissue-specific patterns of polypeptide synthesis. This regulation allows the calcitonin gene to generate two messenger RNA's, one encoding the precursor of a novel neuropeptide, referred to as CGRP, which predominates in the brain, and the second encoding the precursor to the hormone calcitonin which predominates in thyroid C cells. The distribution of CGRP in the central and peripheral nervous system and in endocrine and other organ systems suggests potential functions in nociception, ingestive behavior, cardiovascular homeostasis, and mineral metabolism.