Complete sequence of the 23-kilobase human COL9A3 gene. Detection of Gly-X-Y triplet deletions that represent neutral variants.

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We report the complete sequence of the human COL9A3 gene that encodes the alpha3 chain of heterotrimeric type IX collagen, a member of the fibril-associated collagens with interrupted triple helices family of collagenous proteins. Nucleotide sequencing defined over 23,000 base pairs (bp) of the gene and about 3000 bp of the 5'-flanking sequences. The gene contains 32 exons. The domain and exon organization of the gene is almost identical to a related gene, the human COL9A2 gene. However, exon 2 of the COL9A3 gene codes for one -Gly-X-Y- triplet less than exon 2 of the COL9A2 gene. The difference is compensated by an insertion of 9 bp coding for an additional triplet in exon 4 of the COL9A3 gene. As a result, the number of -Gly-X-Y- repeats in the third collagenous domain remains the same in both genes and ensures the formation of an in-register triple helix. In the course of screening this gene for mutations, heterozygosity for separate 9-bp deletions within the COL1 domain were identified in two kindreds. In both instances, the deletions did not co-segregate with any disease phenotype, suggesting that they were neutral variants. In contrast, similar deletions in triple helical domain of type I collagen are lethal. To study whether alpha3(IX) chains with the deletion will participate in the formation of correctly folded heterotrimeric type IX collagen, we expressed mutant alpha3 chains together with normal alpha1 and alpha2 chains in insect cells. We show here that despite the deletion, mutant alpha3 chains were secreted as heterotrimeric, triple helical molecules consisting of three alpha chains in a 1:1:1 ratio. The results suggest that the next noncollagenous domain (NC2) is capable of correcting the alignment of the alpha chains, and this ensures the formation of an in-register triple helix.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

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