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J Protein Chem. 1999 Jul;18(5):595-602.

Alternative nonallelic deletion is constitutive of ruminant alpha(s1)-casein.

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Dipartimento di Scienza degli Alimenti, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Portici, Italy.


Multiple forms of alpha(s1)-casein were identified in the four major ruminant species by structural characterization of the protein fraction. While alpha(s1)-casein phenotypes were constituted by a mixture of at least seven molecular forms in ovine and caprine species, there were only two forms in bovine and water buffalo species. In ovine and caprine forms the main component corresponded to the 199-residue-long form, and the deleted proteins differed from the complete one by the absence of peptides 141-148, 110-117, or Gln78, or a combination of such deletions. The deleted segments corresponded to the sequence regions encoded by exons 13 and 16, and by the first triplet of exon 11 (CAG), suggesting that the occurrence of the short protein forms is due to alternative skipping, as previously demonstrated for some caprine and ovine phenotypes. The alternative deletion of Gln78 in alpha(s1)-casein, the only form common to the milk of all the species examined and located in a sequence region joining the polar phosphorylation cluster and the hydrophobic C-terminal domain of the protein, may play a functional role in the stabilization of the milk micelle structure.

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