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The complete exon size and distribution pattern in the gene for the alpha 1 chain of human type IV collagen was determined. Clones covering 145 kilobases (kb) of genomic DNA including 100 kb of the gene itself as well as 25 kb upstream and 20 kb downstream of the gene sequences, respectively, were isolated from lambda phage and cosmid libraries. The overall gene structure was determined by endonuclease restriction mapping and R-loop analyses and all exon sizes by nucleotide sequencing. The characterized clones contained all the coding sequences except for exon 2 whose sequence was determined after its amplification by the polymerase chain reaction. There were four gaps in the intron sequences; the exact size of the gene is unknown. The entire gene is at least 100 kb in size and contains 52 exons whose size distribution is completely different from that of the genes for fibrillar collagens. In the -Gly-X-Y- coding region there are three exons of 99, 90, and 45 base pairs (bp) each and two exons of 27, 36, 42, 51, 54, 63, and 84 bp each. The rest of the exons have sizes between 71 and 192 bp in the collagenous region. About one-half of the -Gly-X-Y- repeat coding exons start with the second base for the codon of glycine, whereas the other half starts (with two exceptions) with a complete glycine codon. The distribution of split versus unsplit codons is uneven in that the first 19 exons of the gene start with a complete codon. The gene contains repetitive sequences in several regions. A 185-nucleotide segment containing 40 copies of CCT flanked by poly(C) and poly(T) sequences was shown to be located adjacent to an exon. The gene has previously been shown to be located head-to-head to the alpha 2(IV) collagen gene at the distal end of the long arm of chromosome 13, such that the first exons of the two genes are separated by as little as 42 bp (Pschl, E., Pollner, R., and Khn, K. (1988) EMBOJ. 7,2687-2695; Soininen, R., Huotari, M., Hostikka, S. L., Prockop, D. J., and Tryggvason, K. (1988) J. Biol. Chem. 263, 17217-17220). The results demonstrate that the human alpha 1(IV) collagen gene has a structure distinctly different from the genes for fibrillar collagens and also that it is considerably larger than any collagen gene characterized to date.
author list (cited authors)
Soininen, R., Huotari, M., Ganguly, A., Prockop, D. J., & Tryggvason, K.