Complex alternative splicing of acetylcholinesterase transcripts in Torpedo electric organ; primary structure of the precursor of the glycolipid-anchored dimeric form

EMBO J. 1988 Oct;7(10):2983-93.


In this paper, we show the existence of alternative splicing in the 3' region of the coding sequence of Torpedo acetylcholinesterase (AChE). We describe two cDNA structures which both diverge from the previously described coding sequence of the catalytic subunit of asymmetric (A) forms (Schumacher et al., 1986; Sikorav et al., 1987). They both contain a coding sequence followed by a non-coding sequence and a poly(A) stretch. Both of these structures were shown to exist in poly(A)+ RNAs, by S1 mapping experiments. The divergent region encoded by the first sequence corresponds to the precursor of the globular dimeric form (G2a), since it contains the expected C-terminal amino acids, Ala-Cys. These amino acids are followed by a 29 amino acid extension which contains a hydrophobic segment and must be replaced by a glycolipid in the mature protein. Analyses of intact G2a AChE showed that the common domain of the protein contains intersubunit disulphide bonds. The divergent region of the second type of cDNA consists of an adjacent genomic sequence, which is removed as an intron in A and Ga mRNAs, but may encode a distinct, less abundant catalytic subunit. The structures of the cDNA clones indicate that they are derived from minor mRNAs, shorter than the three major transcripts which have been described previously (14.5, 10.5 and 5.5 kb). Oligonucleotide probes specific for the asymmetric and globular terminal regions hybridize with the three major transcripts, indicating that their size is determined by 3'-untranslated regions which are not related to the differential splicing leading to A and Ga forms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA / genetics
  • Disulfides
  • Electric Organ / physiology
  • Glycolipids / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA Splicing*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / genetics*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / ultrastructure
  • Torpedo


  • Disulfides
  • Glycolipids
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • DNA