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Am J Hum Genet. 1990 Jun;46(6):1024-33.

Molecular cloning of alpha 5(IV) collagen and assignment of the gene to the region of the X chromosome containing the Alport syndrome locus.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104-6059.


Type IV collagen is a major structural component of basement membranes. Four constituent polypeptides have been described and characterized to different degrees. Whereas the primary structure of the alpha 1(IV) and alpha 2(IV) chains has been completely established, only short protein sequences have been reported for the recently recognized alpha 3(IV) and alpha 4(IV) subunits. We have isolated overlapping human cDNA clones whose derived amino acid sequence is highly homologous to the alpha 1(IV) and alpha 2(IV) chains. However, these clones code for neither alpha 3(IV) nor alpha 4(IV), and thus this new polypeptide has been designated the alpha 5 chain of type IV collagen. To determine whether the gene encoding the alpha 5(IV) chain is syntenic with the contiguously arranged alpha 1(IV) and alpha 2(IV) genes at 13q34, the alpha 5(IV) cloned DNA was hybridized to genomic DNA from somatic cell hybrids and to metaphase chromosomes. The results demonstrated that the alpha 5(IV) collagen gene is located on the long arm of the X chromosome. Since 14 collagen genes have previously been assigned to nine autosomes, these data represent the first mapping of a collagen gene to the X chromosome. Most important, the alpha 5(IV) gene has been sublocalized to bands Xq22----q23, which are in the same region known to contain the locus for the X-linked form of Alport syndrome. It is therefore possible that this severe dominantly inherited nephritis, manifested by splitting of the glomerular basement membrane, could be caused by mutations in the alpha 5(IV) collagen gene.

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