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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Apr;87(8):3200-4.

Deduced primary structure of rat hepatocyte growth factor and expression of the mRNA in rat tissues.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


The primary structure of rat hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) was elucidated by determining the base sequence of the complementary DNA (cDNA) of HGF. The cDNA for rat HGF was isolated by screening a liver cDNA library with oligonucleotides based on the partial N-terminal amino acid sequence of the beta subunit of purified rat HGF. HGF is encoded in an mRNA of about 6 kilobases. Both alpha and beta subunits of HGF are specified in a single open reading frame for a 728-amino acid protein with a calculated molecular weight of 82,904. The N-terminal part of HGF has a signal sequence and a prosequence with 30 and 25 amino acid residues, respectively. The mature heterodimer structure is derived proteolytically from this single pre-pro precursor polypeptide. The calculated molecular weights of the alpha and beta subunits are 50,664 and 25,883, respectively, and each subunit has two potential N-linked glycosylation sites. The amino acid sequence of HGF is 38% identical with that of plasminogen. The alpha subunit of HGF contains four "kringle" structures, and the beta subunit has 37% amino acid identity with the serine protease domain of plasmin. Northern blot analysis revealed that HGF mRNA was expressed in rat various tissues, including the liver, kidney, lung, and brain.

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