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EMBO J. 1988 Jul;7(7):1947-55.

The structure and organization of the human heavy neurofilament subunit (NF-H) and the gene encoding it.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, MD 20892.

Abstract

Genomic clones for the largest human neurofilament protein (NF-H) were isolated, the intron/exon boundaries mapped and the entire protein-coding regions (exons) sequenced. The predicted protein contains a central region that obeys the structural criteria identified for alpha-helical 'rod' domains typically present in all IF protein components: it is approximately 310 amino acids long, shares amino acid sequence homology with other IF protein rod domains and displays the characteristic heptad repeats of apolar amino acids which facilitate coiled-coil interaction. Nevertheless, anomalies are noted in the structure of the NF-H rod which could explain observations of its poor homopolymeric assembly in vitro. The protein segment on the carboxy-terminal side of the human NF-H rod is uniquely long (greater than 600 amino acids) compared to other IF proteins and is highly charged (greater than 24% Glu, greater than 25% Lys), rich in proline (greater than 12%) and impoverished in cysteine, methionine and aromatic amino acids. Its most remarkable feature is a repetitive sequence that covers more than half its length and includes the sequence motif, Lys-Ser-Pro (KSP) greater than 40 times. Together with the recent identification of the serine in KSP as the main target for NF-directed protein kinases in vivo, this repetitive character explains the massive phosphorylation of the NF-H subunit that can occur in axons. The human NF-H gene has three introns, two of which interrupt the protein-coding sequence at identical points to introns in the genes for the two smaller NF proteins, NF-M and NF-L.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

PMID:
3138108
PMCID:
PMC454466
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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