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Gene. 1982 Dec;20(3):415-22.

Structure and evolution of human alpha-fetoprotein deduced from partial sequence of cloned cDNA.


The nucleotide sequence of a recombinant DNA clone, containing a partial mRNA sequence for human alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in the plasmid vector pBR322, has been determined. Two regions of the cloned nucleotide sequence were found to agree with published amino acid sequences of two cyanogen bromide peptides derived from human AFP. Examination of the amino acid sequence, deduced from the cloned portion of the mRNA coding region, reveals extensive homology with the third domain of the human serum albumin molecule. A total of 44% (56/128) amino acids and 54% (207/384) nucleotides are identical in the two structures. The landmark cysteine residues are found in the same positions in both polypeptide chains, presumably forming the same disulfide bridges in AFP as those found in the albumin. The sequence homology reinforces the evidence that human AFP and albumin constitute a gene family, in analogy to the same family found in rodents. A comparison of the human and rodent sequence data suggests that the rate of molecular evolution has been faster for AFP than for albumin.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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