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Biochem J. 1995 Jan 1;305 ( Pt 1):211-9.

Characterization of the human mucin gene MUC5AC: a consensus cysteine-rich domain for 11p15 mucin genes?

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  • 1Unité INSERM N.377, Lille, France.


To date five human mucin cDNAs (MUC2, 5A, 5B, 5C and 6) mapped to 11p15.3-15.5, so it appears that this chromosome region might contain several distinct gene loci for mucins. Three of these cDNAs, MUC5A, B and C, were cloned in our laboratory and previously published. A common number, 5, was recommended by the Human Gene Mapping Nomenclature Committee to designate them because of their common provenance from human tracheobronchial mucosa. In order to define whether they are products of the same gene locus or distinct loci, we describe in this paper physical mapping of these cDNAs using the strategy of analysis of CpG islands by pulse-field gel electrophoresis. The data suggest that MUC5A and MUC5C are part of the same gene (called MUC5AC) which is distinct from MUC5B. In the second part of this work, complete sequences of the inserts corresponding to previously described (JER47, JER58) and novel (JER62, JUL32, MAR2, MAR10 and MAR11) cDNAs of the so-called MUC5AC gene are presented and analysed. The data show that in this mucin gene, the tandem repeat domain is interrupted several times with a subdomain encoding a 130 amino acid cysteine-rich peptide in which the TR3A and TR3B peptides previously isolated by Rose et al. [Rose, Kaufman and Martin (1989) J. Biol. Chem., 264, 8193-8199] from airway mucins are found. A consensus peptide sequence for these subdomains involving invariant positions of most of the cysteines is proposed. The consensus nucleotide sequence of this subdomain is also found in the MUC2 gene and in the MUC5B gene, two other mucin genes mapped to 11p15. The functional significance for secreted mucins of these cysteine-rich subdomains and the modular organization of mucin peptides are discussed.

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