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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1989 Jun;86(11):3978-81.

Human basic fibroblast growth factor gene encodes four polypeptides: three initiate translation from non-AUG codons.

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Whittier Institute for Diabetes and Endocrinology, La Jolla, CA 92037.

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  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1990 Mar;87(5):2045.


Human basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is an angiogenic polypeptide mitogen present in a wide variety of mesoderm- and neuroectoderm-derived tissues. bFGF cDNA and genomic clones predict a 17.8-kDa (155-amino acid) gene product based on the presence of a single putative translational initiator ATG codon. However, a bFGF protein isolated from human placenta contains two additional amino acids NH2-terminal to the predicted initiator methionine. We report here that the human cell line SK-HEP-1 coexpresses four molecular forms (17.8, 22.5, 23.1, and 24.2 kDa) of bFGF. The 17.8-kDa bFGF protein is translationally initiated at the previously predicted methionine (AUG) codon, whereas the 22.5-, 23.1-, and 24.2-kDa proteins initiate at unusual non-AUG codons. The higher molecular weight forms are colinear NH2-terminal extensions of the 18-kDa bFGF.

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