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Cell. 1983 Nov;35(1):215-23.

The structure of the vimentin gene.


The structure of the chromosomal gene encoding the intermediate filament protein vimentin is described. This gene, which is present as a single copy in the hamster genome, comprises about 10 kb of DNA and contains more than 80% of intron sequences. S1 mapping and sequence analysis reveal nine exons with a total length of 1848 nucleotides. For the complete primary structure of hamster vimentin, 464 amino acids are predicted, giving a molecular weight of 53,500 daltons. The intron positions are at codons 186, 206/207, 238/239, 292/293, 334/335, 408, 423, and 451/452. The overall homology with chicken desmin is 60% and is even higher in the central (alpha-helical) regions of both molecules. Cross-hybridization at the DNA level, however, is low. Comparison of the amino acid sequence of vimentin with prekeratin sequences shows that there is lesser homology of primary structure, but both the position and size of alpha-helical regions are strongly conserved. At the 5' end of the gene there is a consensus promoter sequence. The first AUG start codon is found 132 nucleotides downstream of the estimated cap site. The 3' nontranslated sequence shows homologies with the chicken vimentin gene. An interesting feature of the vimentin gene is a stretch of 44 nucleotides of alternating dC and dA within intron 2 that may form left-handed Z-DNA.

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