Macrophage migration inhibitory factor, MIF, is a cytokine released by T- lymphocytes, macrophages, and the pituitary gland that serves to integrate peripheral and central inflammatory responses. Ubiquitous expression and developmental regulation suggest that MIF may have additional roles outside of the immune system. Here we report the structure and chromosomal location of the mouse Mif gene and the partial characterization of five Mif pseudogenes. The mouse Mif gene spans less than 0.7 kb of chromosomal DNA and is composed of three exons. A comparison between the mouse and the human genes shows a similar gene structure and common regulatory elements in both promoter regions. The mouse Mif gene maps to the middle region of chromosome 10, between Bcr and S100b, which have been mapped to human chromosomes 22q11 and 21q22.3, respectively. The entire sequence of two pseudogenes demonstrates the absence of introns, the presence of the 5' untranslated region of the cDNA, a 3' poly(A) tail, and the lack of sequence similarity with untranscribed regions of the gene. The five pseudogenes are highly homologous to the cDNA, but contain a variable number of mutations that would produce mutated or truncated MIF-like proteins. Phylogenetic analyses of MIF genes and pseudogenes indicate several independent genetic events that can account for multiple genomic integrations. Three of the Mif pseudogenes were also mapped by interspecific backcross to chromosomes 1, 9, and 17. These results suggest that Mif pseudogenes originated by retrotransposition.
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