Cloning of a differentially expressed tropomyosin isoform from cultured rabbit aortic smooth muscle cells
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The four known tropomyosin genes have highly conserved DNA and amino acid sequences, and at least 18 isoforms are generated by alternative RNA splicing in muscle and non-muscle cells. No rabbit tropomyosin nucleotide sequences are known, although protein sequences for alpha- and beta-tropomyosin expressed by rabbit skeletal muscle have been described. Subtractive hybridisation was used to select for genes differentially expressed in rabbit aortic smooth muscle cells (SMC), during the change in cell phenotype in primary culture that is characterised by a loss of cytoskeletal filaments and contractile proteins. This led to the cloning of a tropomyosin gene predominantly expressed in rabbit SMC during this change. The full-length cDNA clone, designated "rabbit TM-beta", contains an open reading frame of 284 amino acids, 5' untranslated region (UTR) of 117 base pairs and 3' UTR of 79 base pairs. It is closely related to the beta-gene isoforms in other species, with the highest homology in DNA and protein sequences to the human fibroblast isoform TM-1 (91.7% identity in 1035 bp and 93.3% identity in the entire 284 amino acid sequence of the protein). It differs from rabbit skeletal muscle beta-tropomyosin (81.7% homology at the protein level) mainly in two regions at amino acids 189-213 and 258-283 suggesting alternative splicing of exons 6a for 6b and 9d for 9a. Since this TM-beta gene was the only gene strongly enough expressed in SMC changing phenotype to be observed by the subtractive hybridisation screen, it likely plays a significant role in this process.
International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology