Splice junctions: association with variation in protein structure

Science. 1983 Jun 10;220(4602):1125-9. doi: 10.1126/science.6344214.


A comparison between eukaryotic gene sequences and protein sequences of homologous enzymes from bacterial and mammalian organisms shows that intron-exon junctions frequently coincide with variable surface loops of the protein structures. The altered surface structures can account for functional differences among the members of a family. Sliding of the intron-exon junctions may constitute one mechanism for generating length polymorphisms and divergent sequences found in protein families. Since intron-exon junctions map to protein surfaces, the alterations mediated by sliding of these junctions can be effected without disrupting the stability of the protein core.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • DNA / genetics
  • Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism
  • Genes
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Protein Conformation
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Serine Endopeptidases*
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Proteins
  • DNA
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase
  • Endopeptidases
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • streptogrisin A