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J Biol Chem. 2000 Dec 8;275(49):38474-81.

Alternative splicing, expression, and genomic structure of the 3' region of the gene encoding the sarcolemmal-associated proteins (SLAPs) defines a novel class of coiled-coil tail-anchored membrane proteins.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8M5, Canada.


The sarcolemmal associated proteins (SLAPs) are encoded by multiple mRNAs that are presumably generated by alternative splicing mechanisms. The amino acid sequence of the SLAP1 isoform exhibited 76% identity with TOP(AP), a topographically graded antigen of the chick visual system. The regions of coiled-coil structure including an 11-heptad acidic amphipathic alpha-helical segment was conserved with a major divergence in sequence noted in the hydrophobic C termini predicted to be transmembrane domains in the two polypeptides. The genomic organization of the 3' region of the SLAP gene indicated that SLAP1 and TOP(AP) are generated by alternative splicing mechanisms, which are conserved among mammalian and avian species. SLAP1/TOP(AP) were encoded by 11 exons distributed over a minimum of 35 kilobase pairs of continuous DNA; 9 of the exons were constitutively expressed, and 2 were alternatively spliced. The exons range in size from 60 to 321 base pairs, and the predicted functional domains within the polypeptides were encompassed by single exons. The introns vary from 0.2 to 10 kilobase pairs and conform to consensus dinucleotide splicing signals. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction studies demonstrated that alternative exons (IV and X) of SLAP were expressed in a tissue-specific fashion and developmentally regulated. The alternatively spliced exon X, which encodes the putative transmembrane anchor in TOP(AP), and a constitutively expressed exon XI, which encodes the putative transmembrane domain in SLAP, were found to target these polypeptides to membrane structures. The presence and conservation of termination codons in exons X and XI render expression of the two SLAP1/TOP(AP) transmembrane domains mutually exclusive. These data reveal that TOP(AP) and SLAP are alternatively spliced products of a single gene that encodes a unique class of tail-anchored membrane proteins.

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