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J Biol Chem. 1992 Nov 5;267(31):22542-9.

Molecular cloning and characterization of the genes encoding the two subunits of Drosophila melanogaster calcineurin.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biochemistry, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Genomic clones containing the full coding sequences of the two subunits of the Ca2+/calmodulin-stimulated protein phosphatase, calcineurin, were isolated from a Drosophila melanogaster genomic library using highly conserved human cDNA probes. Three clones encoded a 19.3-kDa protein whose sequence is 88% identical to that of human calcineurin B, the Ca(2+)-binding regulatory subunit of calcineurin. The coding sequences of the Drosophila and human calcineurin B genes are 69% identical. Drosophila calcineurin B is the product of a single intron-less gene located at position 4F on the X chromosome. Drosophila genomic clones encoding a highly conserved region of calcineurin A, the catalytic subunit of calcineurin, were used to locate the calcineurin A gene at position 21 EF on the second chromosome of Drosophila and to isolate calcineurin A cDNA clones from a Drosophila embryonic cDNA library. The structure of the calcineurin A gene was determined by comparison of the genomic and cDNA sequences. Twelve exons, spread over a total of 6.6 kilobases, were found to encode a 64.6-kDa protein 73% identical to either human calcineurin A alpha or beta. At the nucleotide level Drosophila calcineurin A cDNA is 67 and 65% identical to human calcineurin A alpha and beta cDNAs, respectively. Major differences between human and Drosophila calcineurins A are restricted to the amino and carboxyl termini, including two stretches of repetitive sequences in the carboxyl-terminal third of the Drosophila molecule. Motifs characteristic of the putative catalytic centers of protein phosphatase-1 and -2A and calcineurin are almost perfectly conserved. The calmodulin-binding and auto-inhibitory domains, characteristic of all mammalian calcineurins A, are also conserved. A remarkable feature of the calcineurin A gene is the location of the intron/exon junctions at the boundaries of the functional domains and the apparent conservation of the intron/exon junctions from Drosophila to man.

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