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J Biol Chem. 1986 Jun 25;261(18):8442-52.

Structure of the murine serum amyloid A gene family. Gene conversion.


Serum amyloid A (SAA) is an apolipoprotein produced by the liver in response to inflammation; the levels of SAA mRNA and SAA protein increase at least 500-fold within 24 h. We have obtained clones of all three genes and pseudogene that make up the murine SAA gene family. Two of the genes have 96% sequence homology over their entire length, including introns and flanking sequences 288 base pairs (bp) 5' and 443 bp 3' to the genes: an overall length of 3215 bp. The sharp boundaries between homologous and nonhomologous sequences and the absence of interspersed repeated sequences there suggest that conversion has occurred between these two genes. The homologous regions are bounded by short inverted repeats containing alternating purine and pyrimidine residues, as described for other gene conversion units. The third SAA gene has evolved separately, although all are closely linked on chromosome 7. Comparison of the upstream regions of the SAA genes with those of the rat fibrinogen genes, whose expression is also induced by inflammation, reveals sequences common to all six genes which are very improbable on a random basis.

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