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, 88 (4), 1560-4

cDNA Analysis Predicts a Cornea-Specific Collagen

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cDNA Analysis Predicts a Cornea-Specific Collagen

J K Marchant et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.

Abstract

In the development of chicken corneal stroma, two or more collagens often interact, either as constituents of a single heterotypic fibril or as components of the fibril surface. The latter, fibril-associated collagens, may facilitate interactions between fibrils and the surrounding extracellular matrix or between fibrils themselves. In an effort to isolate putative nonfibrillar collagens that may have such a function, we screened a 13-day embryonic cornea cDNA library under reduced stringency conditions, using a cDNA probe for a collagenous domain of type XII collagen. We isolated a 4.2-kilobase (kb) cDNA that predicts a "collagenous" protein that has three unusual, if not unique, features. (i) The putative polypeptide encoded by this cDNA has a structural arrangement in which numerous stretches of Gly-Xaa-Yaa triplets, typical of collagens, are interrupted by non-Gly-Xaa-Yaa regions. One of the potential triple-helical domains is 246 amino acids long, but most are much smaller, consisting of 15-36 amino acids. Many are very rich in the helix-stabilizing imino acid proline. (ii) Northern blot analyses demonstrated strong cDNA hybridization to a 6.8-kb mRNA whose expression is restricted to the cornea. No hybridization was observed to mRNAs from the nine other tissues used in these analyses, even with extended exposure of the film. (iii) The cDNA contains a short (less than or equal to 425-base-pair) sequence in the 3' untranslated region of the 6.8-kb mRNA that hybridizes to a 7.8-kb mRNA that has a wide tissue distribution.

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