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ARHT is a new subgroup of the Rho family identified recently, which consists of two Rho-like genes, Arht1 and Arht2. ARHT may be involved in mitochondrial homeostasis and apoptosis. Constitutively active mutants of ARHT1 induced an aggregation of the mitochondrial network and resulted in an increased apoptotic rate of the cells. Here we report the molecular cloning and characterization of a novel mouse cDNA encoding a putative atypical GTPase protein, Arht2. Mouse Arht2 consists of 19 exons and has been mapped to mouse chromosome 17A3.3. Both human and mouse Arht2 genes are ubiquitously expressed in adult tissues. The results of RT-PCR experiments indicated that the Arht2 gene is expressed in all stages of mouse testis and reached the adult level of transcription at postnatal day 30. In situ hybridization revealed strong hybridization signals of Arht2 in residual bodies. In the mouse testis, Arht2 may be involved in the differentiation of testis and spermiogenesis. The molecular characterization of the mouse Arht2 gene may provide a clue for functional studies of the human ARHT genes.
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