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J Biol Chem. 1998 Jul 10;273(28):17824-31.

Complete exon-intron organization of the human gene for the alpha1 chain of type XV collagen (COL15A1) and comparison with the homologous COL18A1 gene.

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  • 1Collagen Research Unit, Biocenter, and Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Oulu, Kajaanintie 52 A, FIN-90220 Oulu, Finland.


The human gene for the alpha1 chain of type XV collagen (COL15A1) is about 145 kilobases in size and contains 42 exons. The promoter is characterized by the lack of a TATAA motif and the presence of several Sp1 binding sites, some of which appeared to be functional in transfected HeLa cells. Comparison with Col18a1, which encodes the alpha1(XVIII) collagen chain homologous with alpha1(XV), indicates marked structural homology spread throughout the two genes. The mouse Col18a1 contains one exon more than COL15A1, due to the fact that COL15A1 lacks sequences corresponding to exon 3 of Col18a1, which encodes a cysteine-rich sequence motif. Twenty-five of the exons of the two genes are almost identical in size, six of them contain conserved split codons, and the locations of the respective exon-intron junctions are identical or almost identical in the two genes. The homologous exons include the closely adjacent first pair of exons and the exons encoding a thrombospondin-1 homology found in the N-terminal noncollagenous domain 1, which are followed by the most variable part of the two genes, covering the C-terminal half of their noncollagenous domain 1 and the beginning of the collagenous portion, after which most of the exons are homologous. The lengths of the introns are not similar in these genes, with two exceptions, namely the first intron, which is very short, less than 100 base pairs, and the second intron, which is very large, about 50 kilobases, in both genes. It can be concluded that COL15A1 and Col18a1 are derived from a common ancestor.

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