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J Biol Chem. 1989 Apr 5;264(10):5575-80.

Alpha 1 chain of chick type VI collagen. The complete cDNA sequence reveals a hybrid molecule made of one short collagen and three von Willebrand factor type A-like domains.

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  • 1Divisione di Oncologia Sperimentale 2, Centro di Riferimento Oncologico, Avino, Italy.


A cDNA library constructed from chick aorta poly(A+) RNA in the expression vector pEX1 was screened with rabbit polyclonal antisera. Additional clones were obtained by DNA-DNA hybridization with subclones from the most 5'- and 3'-ends. The overlapping clones span 4.6 kilobases and code for the entire alpha 1 (VI) chain. The nucleotide sequence reveals a 3057-base pair open reading frame that codes for 1019 amino acids. Analysis of the deduced amino acid sequence predicts that alpha 1 (VI) has one collagenous domain (COL) of 336 residues flanked by three repeated domains of about 200 residues each, one at the amino (A'3) and two at the carboxyl ends (A'2 and A'1), respectively, that are similar to the type A repeats of von Willebrand Factor. The COL domain presents two short interruptions near the carboxyl end of the triple helix and three of the six potential N-asparaginyl-linked carbohydrate attachment sites (Asn-Xaa-Ser/Thr). Furthermore, it contains 1 cysteine at position 89 that could participate in the formation of dimers and 3 Arg-Gly-Asp sequences that might be potential sites for cell adhesion. The COL domain shows an extended region, starting from position 40, within the triple helix, made of 14 Gly-Xaa-Yaa triplets that lack proline in the Y position, suggesting that it might be more flexible than the rest of the domain. At the junction of the COL with the N- and C-terminal domains, there are several cysteines that could confer the well known resistance of type VI collagen to pepsin and collagenase digestion under nonreducing conditions. The present sequence data allow a structural model for type VI collagen assembly to be proposed that is consistent with the structure implied from previous electron microscopic observation by Furthmayr et al. (Furthmayr, H., Wiedemann, H., Timpl, R., Odermatt, R., and Engel, J. (1983) Biochem. J. 221, 303-311).

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