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XB-ART-29093
J Mol Biol August 20, 1985; 184 (4): 713-24.

Amino acid sequence microheterogeneities of basic (type II) cytokeratins of Xenopus laevis epidermis and evolutionary conservativity of helical and non-helical domains.

Hoffmann W , Franz JK , Franke WW .


Abstract
Three clones coding for carboxy-terminal portions of type II cytokeratins have been isolated from a cDNA library constructed from the epidermis of the frog Xenopus laevis. These clones have been identified by hybridization-selection-translation and Northern blot analysis, and contain sequences complementary to mRNAs of similar size that code for three different polypeptides of the Mr 64,000 group, Ia-c, i.e. the only major type II cytokeratins expressed in this tissue. A comparison of the corresponding nucleotide sequences and the amino acid sequences deduced therefrom shows only minor differences in these polypeptides, most of which occur as isolated point mutations. This indicates that coding sequences of the different type II cytokeratin genes in epidermis of Xenopus are very similar, in contrast to the more extended differences of type II cytokeratin genes expressed in mammalian epidermis, which probably reflects a lower degree of evolutionary divergence of members of this protein family in amphibia. A comparison of the Xenopus sequences with those of mammalian type II cytokeratins reveals the same characteristic features, i.e. an alpha-helical domain ending with the familiar consensus sequence T Y R (X Y) L E G E, followed by a non-helical domain Cl enriched in hydroxyamino acids. Both domains are remarkably conserved in sequence between Xenopus and mammals. The following glycine-rich domain (C2) displays similar oligopeptide repeats (mostly of the type G G G M in the frog keratins), and the terminal C3 domain is characterized by a region exceptionally rich in hydroxyamino acids, which immediately precedes a cluster of basic amino acids at the carboxy terminus. Our results show that the typical features of the domain of type II cytokeratins are already established in amphibia and that these homologies are not restricted to the alpha-helical rod of these proteins but, in principle, extend to the other domains located in the so-called hypervariable tail portion. This suggests that the hypervariable regions are not subject to random variability but contain functionally important domains that have been well conserved during evolution.

PubMed ID: 2413219
Article link: J Mol Biol


Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: krt12.4 krt78.6 krt78.8