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Nature. 1982 Aug 26;298(5877):857-9.

Nucleotide sequence of the rat skeletal muscle actin gene.


The actins constitute a family of highly conserved proteins found in all eukaryotic cells. Their conservation through a very wide range of taxonomic groups and the existence of tissue-specific isoforms make the actin genes very interesting for the study of the evolution of genes and their controlling elements. On the basis of amino acid sequence data, at least six different mammalian actins have been identified (skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, two smooth muscle actins and the cytoplasmic beta- and gamma-actins). Rat spleen DNA digested by the EcoRI restriction enzyme contains at least 12 different fragments with actin-like sequences but only one which hybridized, in very stringent conditions, with the skeletal muscle cloned cDNA probe. Here we describe the sequence of the actin gene in that fragment. The nucleotide sequence codes for two amino acids, Met-Cys, preceding the known N-terminal Asp of the mature protein. There are five small introns in the coding region and a large intron in the 5'-untranslated region. Comparison of the structure of the rat skeletal muscle actin gene with available data on actin genes from other organisms shows that while the sequenced actin genes from Drosophila and yeast have introns at different locations, introns located at codons specifying amino acids 41, 121, 204 and 267 have been preserved at least from the echinoderm to the vertebrates. A similar analysis has been done by Davidson. An intron at codon 150 is common to a plant actin gene and the skeletal muscle acting gene.

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