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J Biol Chem. 1990 Feb 5;265(4):1862-5.

The structure of the gene for mouse filaggrin and a comparison of the repeating units.

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Dermatology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Filaggrins are an important class of intermediate filament-associated proteins that are involved in the organization of keratin filaments in the terminal stages of mammalian epidermal differentiation. Filaggrins are initially synthesized as very large polyprotein precursors consisting of many tandemly arranged repeats that are later liberated by proteolytic processes to yield many copies of the functional protein. We have recently characterized a cDNA clone to mouse filaggrin (Rothnagel, J. A., Mehrel. T., Idler, W. W., Roop, D. R., and Steinert, P. M. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 15643-15648) which encodes a 750-base pair (250-amino acid) repeating element having properties consistent with a filaggrin molecule. Southern blot analysis of total mouse DNA and the mouse gene isolated from a cosmid library (cosmid clone cFM6.1A2) has also revealed a repeat length of about 750 base pairs. The cosmid clone contains most of the mouse filaggrin gene, but it is missing the 5'-noncoding sequences and possibly some coding sequences as well. We report here that cosmid clone cFM6.1A2 contains 20 filaggrin repeats and 15,213 base pairs of coding sequences. Sequence analysis of this clone has revealed at least two different types of repeating element. Type B has a repeat length of 750 base pairs (250 amino acids), whereas type A is 765 base pairs (255 amino acids) long and contains an additional five amino acids inserted next to an acidic sequence that delineates the amino and carboxyl termini of the filaggrin repeats. It is supposed that these additional five amino acids may alter the proteolytic sensitivity of the acidic linker sequence, thereby affecting the processing of the precursor. The random distribution of the two types of repeats in the precursor indicates that the mouse filaggrin gene arose by a complicated series of duplications and/or rearrangements.

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