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PLoS One. 2013 Oct 7;8(10):e75730. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075730. eCollection 2013.

Alternative mRNA splicing generates two distinct ADAM12 prodomain variants.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, United States of America.


Human ADAM12, transcript variant 1 (later on referred to as Var-1b), present in publicly available databases contains the sequence 5'-GTAATTCTG-3' at the nucleotide positions 340-348 of the coding region, at the 3' end of exon 4. The translation product of this variant, ADAM12-Lb, includes the three amino acid motif (114)VIL(116) in the prodomain. This motif is not conserved in ADAM12 from different species and is not present in other human ADAMs. Currently, it is not clear whether a shorter variant, Var-1a, encoding the protein version without the (114)VIL(116) motif, ADAM12-La, is expressed in human. In this work, we have established that human mammary epithelial cells and breast cancer cells express both Var-1a and Var-1b transcripts. Importantly, the proteolytic processing and intracellular trafficking of the corresponding ADAM12-La and ADAM12-Lb proteins are different. While ADAM12-La is cleaved and trafficked to the cell surface in a manner similar to ADAM12 in other species, ADAM12-Lb is retained in the ER and is not proteolytically processed. Furthermore, the relative abundance of ADAM12-La and ADAM12-Lb proteins detected in several breast cancer cell lines varies significantly. We conclude that the canonical form of transmembrane ADAM12 is represented by Var-1a/ADAM12-La, rather than Var-1b/ADAM12-Lb currently featured in major sequence databases.

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