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J Biol Chem. 1993 Dec 15;268(35):26773-83.

Alternative extracellular and cytoplasmic domains of the integrin alpha 7 subunit are differentially expressed during development.

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Department of Stomatology and Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


Examination of cDNAs for the laminin-binding alpha 7 integrin subunit identified two different sequences (designated X1 and X2) coding for the variable region between the III and IV homology repeat domains near the putative ligand-binding site. Sequencing of a mouse alpha 7 genomic clone established that the X1 and X2 regions are derived by mutually exclusive alternative mRNA splicing. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis of alpha 7 mRNA indicated that the X1 and X2 isoforms were present in equal amounts in mouse skeletal myoblasts and adult heart. However, in adult skeletal muscle, the X2 variant was exclusively expressed. Amino acid sequence homologies in the III/IV segment suggest that alpha 3 and alpha 6 are also alternatively spliced at this site. We identified alternatively spliced exons in a human alpha 6 genomic clone that encode X1- and X2-like segments. Analysis of the alpha 7 cytoplasmic domain indicated that this region was also alternatively spliced and like alpha 3 and alpha 6 could exist as the A or B form. In mouse skeletal and cardiac muscle the B form of alpha 7 was strongly expressed. However, we identified alpha 7A in neonate and adult skeletal muscle but not in cardiac tissue. High levels of alpha 7A were detected in differentiating myotubes, but in proliferating myoblasts only the alpha 7B isoform was present. These results indicate that alternative splicing of alpha 7 mRNA is differentially regulated during development and generates variant integrin chains with structurally and presumably functionally unique ligand-binding and cytoplasmic domains.

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