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J Biol Chem. 1992 Aug 25;267(24):17170-7.

Insect proteins homologous to mammalian high mobility group protein 1. Characterization and DNA-binding properties.

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  • 1Department of Developmental Biology, University of Göttingen, Germany.


Two chromosomal high mobility group (HMG) proteins from larvae of Chironomus thummi (Diptera) and from an epithelial cell line of Chironomus tentans were purified to homogeneity and chemically characterized. cDNA clones encoding these proteins were isolated from an expression library using an immunoscreening approach and were sequenced. The deduced amino acid sequences revealed their homology to HMG protein 1 of vertebrates. These insect proteins have therefore been designated cHMG1a and cHMG1b. They have a molecular mass of 12,915 and 12,019 kDa, respectively, and preferentially bind to AT-rich DNA. Indirect immunofluorescence microscopy with a polyclonal antibody showed the presence of cHMG1a and cHMG1b in condensed chromomeres but not in puffs, nucleoli, and cytoplasm. The cHMG1a and cHMG1b genes were both localized to a single band in region 14 of chromosome 1 of C. tentans and appear to be single copy genes. An immunologically related protein was purified from Drosophila melanogaster Kc cells. Its size and amino acid composition indicate that it is an HMG1 of D. melanogaster. On the other hand, our antibody did not recognize calf HMG1. The identification and characterization of HMG1 proteins in insects with polytene chromosomes opens new possibilities for studying function(s) of this group of chromosomal proteins.

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