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J Exp Med. 1989 Mar 1;169(3):847-63.

Structure of the human CR1 gene. Molecular basis of the structural and quantitative polymorphisms and identification of a new CR1-like allele.

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  • 1Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.


Structural and quantitative polymorphisms have been described in human CR1. In the former, the S allotype is larger than the F allotype by 40-50 kD, the size of a long homologous repeat (LHR). In the latter, homozygotes for a 7.4-kb Hind III fragment express fourfold more CR1 per erythrocyte than do homozygotes for the allelic 6.9-kb restriction fragment. The basis for these genomic polymorphisms has been determined by restriction mapping the entire S allele and part of the F allele. The S allele is 158 kb and contains 5 LHRs of 20-30 kb, designated -A, -B/A, -B, -C, and -D, respectively, 5' to 3'. Extensive homology was found among the LHRs in their restriction maps, exon organization, and the coding and noncoding sequences. The presence of LHR-B/A in the S allele but not in the F allele accounts for the longer transcripts and polypeptide associated with the former allotype. At least 42 exons are present in the S allele, with distinct exons for the leader sequence, the transmembrane and cytoplasmic regions and most of the SCRs comprising the extracellular portion of CR1. Consistent with the mapping of the ligand binding site to the first two SCRs in each LHR, the second SCRs in LHR-A, -B/A, -B, and -C are encoded by two exons, reflecting a specialized function for this unit. The allelic 7.4/6.9-kb Hind III fragments extend from the 3' region of LHR-C to LHR-D. The 6.9-kb restriction fragment is the result of a new Hind III site generated by a single base change in the intron between the exons encoding the second SCR of LHR-D. A second cluster of genomic clones has been identified by hybridization to CR1 probes. Although they contain regions of hybridization to the cDNA and genomic probes derived from CR1, these cannot be overlapped with the structural gene owing to their distinct restriction maps. Three genomic polymorphisms previously identified by CR1 cDNA probes map to this region. These additional clones may represent part of a duplicated allele located nearby within the CR1 locus.

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