Myosin heavy chain isoform diversity in smooth muscle is produced by differential RNA processing

J Mol Biol. 1989 Dec 5;210(3):673-9. doi: 10.1016/0022-2836(89)90142-3.


We have isolated and characterized two distinct myosin heavy chain cDNA clones from a neonatal rat aorta cDNA library. These clones encode part of the light meromyosin region and the carboxyl terminus of smooth muscle myosin heavy chain. The two rat aorta cDNA clones were identical in their 5' coding sequence but diverged at the 3' coding and in a portion of the 3' untranslated regions. One cDNA clone, RAMHC21, encoded 43 unique amino acids from the point of divergence of the two cDNAs. The second cDNA clone, RAMHC 15, encoded a shorter carboxyl terminus of nine unique amino acids and was the result of a 39 nucleotide insertion. This extra nucleotide sequence was not present in RAMHC21. The rest of the 3' untranslated sequences were common to both cDNA clones. Genomic cloning and DNA sequence analysis demonstrated that an exon specifying the 39 nucleotides unique to RAMHC15 mRNA was present, together with the 5' upstream common exons in the same contiguous stretch of genomic DNA. The 39 nucleotide exon is flanked on either side by two relatively large introns of approximately 2600 and 2700 bases in size. RNase protection analysis indicated that the two corresponding mRNAs were coexpressed in both vascular and non-vascular smooth muscle tissues. This is the first demonstration of alternative RNA processing in a vertebrate myosin heavy chain gene and provides a novel mechanism for generating myosin heavy chain protein diversity in smooth muscle tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / genetics
  • Genes
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / physiology*
  • Myosins / genetics*
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional
  • RNA Splicing
  • Rats
  • Restriction Mapping


  • DNA
  • Myosins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X16261
  • GENBANK/X16262
  • GENBANK/X16263