A cDNA encoding a novel member of the small molecular weight GTP-binding protein (small G-protein) superfamily was cloned from rat spinal cord. The deduced amino acid sequence was highly homologous with those of so-far-known Rho proteins. Rho proteins were reported to alter many important cellular functions including formation of both actin stress fibers and focal adhesions. RNA blot hybridization and in situ hybridization analyses indicated that the novel small G-protein is expressed specifically in neurons in the brain and spinal cord and also in hepatic stellate cells. Based on the sequence similarity and neuron-specific expression in the brain, this protein was named RhoN. Unlike classical Rho proteins, RhoN was not susceptible to the ADP-ribosylation reaction by C3 botulinum toxin. Accordingly, RhoN seemed to be specifically involved in neuronal and hepatic functions as a C3 toxin-insensitive member of the Rho subfamily. Then, a mouse genomic DNA segment containing the RhoN gene was cloned. The locus was mapped on the mouse chromosome 11C-D. The sequence data showed that the protein-coding sequence for RhoN is divided by 4 introns, and that the defined 5 exons may encode intramolecular domains serving for different functions.
Copyright 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.