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EMBO J. 1986 Dec 20;5(13):3483-8.

Alternative splicing and alternative initiation of translation explain the four forms of the Ia antigen-associated invariant chain.


The Ia antigen-associated invariant chain (In) exists in humans as four related polypeptides, p33, p35, p41 and p43, all associated with HLA-class II antigens. As described previously, two of these forms of In chain, p33 and p35, result from the use of two in-phase initiation AUG codons on the unique In p33 mRNA. In addition to cDNA clones derived from In p33 mRNA, we have isolated a new cDNA clone, called p41-1, which differs from p33-1 by an additional segment in the coding region. The DNA sequence encoding the segment unique to p41-1 was identified in the genomic sequence in the intron between exon 6 and 7, and we refer to it as exon 6b. Cells transfected with a full length p41 cDNA clone in an expression vector synthesize the two larger forms of the In chain, p41 and p43. We propose that the larger mRNA, encoding p41, results from alternative splicing of exon 6b, and that p41 and p43 result from the use of the two functional initiation AUG codons identified in p33 mRNA. Alternative splicing, together with alternative initiation of translation, allows therefore the synthesis of four related In chain polypeptides from a single gene.

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