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DNA Cell Biol. 2000 Dec;19(12):765-73.

Arylsulfatase D gene in Xp22.3 encodes two protein isoforms.

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  • 1Institute of Human Genetics, University of Heidelberg, INF 328, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


The human genome contains six arylsulfatase genes (ARSA-ARSF), of which four are clustered in a distal region of the short arm of the X chromosome (Xp22.3). They were probably generated by a series of evolutionary duplication events; their exon-intron boundaries are identical. Nevertheless, different transcript lengths and the absence of cross-hybridizations point to a specific function of each gene in human cell metabolism, and multiple transcripts suggest the coding of protein isoforms. We identified a novel protein isoform of the ARSD gene by isolation of a series of cDNA clones from a human testis cDNA library. The clones were only partially identical to another series of ARSD clones isolated earlier (now designated ARSDalpha clones). Their specific C-terminal region (1160 nt) encodes a novel ARSD peptide of 48 amino acids and was identified as part of intron 6 of the ARSD gene in Xp22.3. We therefore designate them ARSDbeta clones. Expression analyses of ARSDalpha and ARSDbeta by semiquantitative RT-PCR revealed the presence of both in multiple human tissues, although in different quantities. A physiologic substrate for arylsulfatase D proteins is not known. We therefore estimated their sulfatase activities in vitro with the aid of the 4-methylumbelliferyl sulfate (4-MUS) assay. Surprisingly, neither ARSD protein isoform demonstrated any sulfatase activity alone or in combination, although their catalytic peptide domain is strongly conserved in comparison with that of the other X-chromosomal arylsulfatase enzymes (ARSC, ARSE, ARSF), all of which are functionally active in the 4-MUS assay.

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