Structural organization of the genes for rat von Ebner's gland proteins 1 and 2 reveals their close relationship to lipocalins

Eur J Biochem. 1994 May 1;221(3):905-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1994.tb18806.x.


The rat von Ebner's gland protein 1 (VEGP 1) is a secretory protein, which is abundantly expressed in the small acinar von Ebner's salivary glands of the tongue. Based on the primary structure of this protein we have previously suggested that it is a member of the lipocalin superfamily of lipophilic-ligand carrier proteins. Although the physiological role of VEGP 1 is not clear, it might be involved in sensory or protective functions in the taste epithelium. Here, we report the purification of VEGP 1 and of a closely related secretory polypeptide, VEGP 2, the isolation of a cDNA clone encoding VEGP 2, and the isolation and structural characterization of the genes for both proteins. Protein purification by gel-filtration and anion-exchange chromatography using Mono Q revealed the presence of two different immunoreactive VEGP species. N-terminal sequence determination of peptide fragments isolated after protease Asp-N digestion allowed the identification of a new VEGP, named VEGP 2, in addition to the previously characterized VEGP 1. The complete VEGP 2 sequence was deduced from a cDNA clone isolated from a von Ebner's gland cDNA library. The VEGP 2 cDNA encodes a protein of 177 amino acids and is 94% identical to VEGP 1. DNA sequence analysis of the rat VEGP 1 and 2 genes isolated from rat genomic libraries revealed that both span about 4.5 kb and contain seven exons. The VEGP 1 and 2 genes are non-allelic distinct genes in the rat genome and probably arose by gene duplication. The high degree of nucleotide sequence identity in introns A-C (94-100%) points to a recent gene conversion event that included the 5' part of the genes. The genomic organization of the rat VEGP genes closely resembles that found in other lipocalins such as beta-lactoglobulin, mouse urinary proteins (MUPs) and prostaglandin D synthase, and therefore provides clear evidence that VEGPs belong to this superfamily of proteins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alpha-Globulins / genetics
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Complementary / chemistry
  • Genomic Library
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases*
  • Introns
  • Isomerases / genetics
  • Lactoglobulins / genetics
  • Lipocalin 1
  • Lipocalins
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Rats
  • Salivary Proteins and Peptides / chemistry
  • Salivary Proteins and Peptides / genetics*
  • Salivary Proteins and Peptides / isolation & purification
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Alpha-Globulins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Lactoglobulins
  • Lcn1 protein, rat
  • Lipocalin 1
  • Lipocalins
  • Salivary Proteins and Peptides
  • Isomerases
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases
  • prostaglandin R2 D-isomerase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X74805
  • GENBANK/X74806
  • GENBANK/X74807