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Exp Cell Res. 2001 Aug 15;268(2):211-9.

Identification and characterization of a novel fibronectin in zebrafish.

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Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


Sequence analysis of zebrafish fibronectin (FN) cDNAs indicates that at least two forms of the protein exist in fish. One form (FN1) is very similar to FNs identified in other vertebrates possessing 12 type I, 2 type II, and 17 type III repeats including two alternative splice sites (EIIIA and EIIIB) and a variable region (V). Zebrafish FN1 contains the RGD cell adhesion site in type III(10) and a second cell-binding site (LDV) in the V region. In addition to this conserved form of FN, a novel truncated form of zebrafish FN (FN2) was identified. The predicted structure of FN2 is identical to FN1 at the N-terminal region possessing 9 type I, 2 type II, and the first 3 type III repeats. Following III(3), FN2 contains a unique 20-amino-acid C-terminal tail that is different from the C-terminus of FN1, lacking the two cysteines that are usually involved in the formation of interchain disulfide bonds. Genomic sequence analysis has revealed that FN2 is generated by an alternative RNA splicing pattern that has not been described for FN in other organisms. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis and RNase protection assays reveal that FN2 mRNA is present in the zebrafish embryo throughout development as well as in cultures of an established liver cell line. Experiments conducted with recombinant FN2 synthesized in insect cells demonstrate that the protein promotes the attachment and spreading of fish embryo cells in culture.

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