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Biochem J. 1998 Jun 15;332 ( Pt 3):739-48.

Human mucin gene MUC4: organization of its 5'-region and polymorphism of its central tandem repeat array.

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  • 1INSERM Unité 377, Place de Verdun, 59045 Lille Cedex, France.


In a previous study we isolated a partial cDNA with a tandem repeat of 48 bp, which allowed us to map a novel human mucin gene named MUC4 to chromosome 3q29. Here we report the organization and sequence of the 5'-region and its junction with the tandem repeat array of MUC4. Analysis of three overlapping genomic clones allowed us to obtain a partial restriction map of MUC4 and to locate the complete 48 bp tandem repeat domain on a PstI/EcoRI genomic fragment that exhibits a very large variation in number of tandem repeats (7-19 kb). cDNA clonal extension allowed us to obtain the entire 5' coding region of MUC4. Exon 1 consists of a 5' untranslated region and an 82 bp fragment encoding the signal peptide. This latter shows a high degree of similarity to the signal peptide of another apomucin, ASGP-1. Exon 2 is extremely large and contains a unique sequence that is followed by the whole tandem repeat domain. It encodes only one cysteine residue, making MUC4 different from mucin genes belonging to the 11p15.5 family. Moreover, an intron downstream from the tandem repeat array consists mainly of a 15 bp tandem repeat that exhibits a polymorphism in having a variable number of tandem repeats.

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