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Ciba Found Symp. 1987;125:108-27.

Sequence diversity of gap junction proteins.


This paper summarizes our understanding of the molecular organization of gap junction proteins. There appear to be overall similarities in the organization of heart and liver junctions in terms of general domains, even though the molecular sizes of the two proteins are quite different. Sequence data on the amino-terminal regions of these two proteins show 43% of the residues to be identical and 25% more to be homologous. The major intrinsic protein of lens (MIP), believed by many to be the lens-fibre junction protein, does not show such sequence homology with the known portions of junction proteins from either heart or liver. Yet the sequence of MIP, which is completely known, suggests a conformation for this molecule quite compatible with a junctional role. It thus appears that molecules potentially involved in junction formation will prove to form a rather diverse family, with special characteristics of organ-specific molecules that may well be related to their function.

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