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Eur J Biochem. 1996 Jun 1;238(2):410-7.

Two additional 5' exons in the human Vigilin gene distinguish it from the chicken gene and provide the structural basis for differential routes of gene expression.

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Institut für Medizinische Molekularbiologie, Medizinische Universität zu Lübeck, Germany.


Vigilin, a 150-kDa protein, contains 14 tandemly arranged domains, each consisting of a KH RNA-binding motif and a spacer region. Here, we report on the physical structure of the human Vigilin gene with 29 exons, thereby outnumbering the chicken gene by two additional 5' exons. These additional exons, 1A and 1B, are alternatively though concurrently spliced to exon 1C which is homologous to the first exon in the chicken gene. None of the additional human exons code for an amino-terminal extension of Vigilin, due to in-frame stop codons. Structural features of exon 1A, however, would allow the translation of a 13-amino-acid peptide from an upstream open reading frame preceding the vigilin open reading frame. We suggest that exons 1A and 1B have been gained during evolution, allowing alternative routes of expression control of the human Vigilin gene.

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