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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Aug 15;88(16):6931-5.

Human type VII collagen: cDNA cloning and chromosomal mapping of the gene.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107.


A human keratinocyte cDNA expression library in bacteriophage lambda gt11 was screened with the purified IgG fraction of serum from a patient with epidermolysis bullosa acquisita, which had a high titer of anti-type VII collagen antibodies. Screening of approximately 3 x 10(5) plaques identified 8 positive clones, the largest one (K-131) being approximately 1.9 kilobases in size. Dideoxynucleotide sequencing of K-131 indicated that it consisted of 1875 base pairs and contained an open reading frame coding for a putative N-terminal noncollagenous domain of 439 amino acids and a collagenous C-terminal segment of 186 amino acids. The collagenous domain was characterized by repeating Gly-Xaa-Yaa sequences that were interrupted in several positions by insertions or deletions of 1-3 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence also revealed a peptide segment that had a high degree of identity with a published type VII collagen protein sequence. Northern hybridization of the K-131 cDNA with human epidermal keratinocyte and skin fibroblast RNA revealed an mRNA of approximately 8.5 kilobases. The fusion protein produced by the K-131 cDNA, when incubated with epidermolysis bullosa acquisita serum, bound to antibodies that reacted in Western blots with type VII collagen. The genomic location of the type VII collagen gene (COL7A1) was determined by chromosomal in situ hybridization with the K-131 cDNA. The results mapped the COL7A1 to the locus 3p21. The cDNA clones characterized in this study will be valuable for understanding the protein structure and gene expression of type VII collagen present in anchoring fibrils and its aberrations in the dystrophic forms of heritable epidermolysis bullosa.

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