Vanin genes are clustered (human 6q22–24 and mouse 10A2B1) and encode isoforms of pantetheinase ectoenzymes
The mouse Vanin-1 molecule plays a role in thymic reconstitution following damage by irradiation. We recently demonstrated that it is a membrane pantetheinase (EC 3.56.1.–). This molecule is the prototypic member of a larger Vanin family encoded by at least two mouse (Vanin-1 and Vanin-3) and three human (VNN1, VNN2, VNN3) orthologous genes. We now report (1) the structural characterization of the human and mouse Vanin genes and their organization in clusters on the 6q22–24 and 10A2B1 chromosomes, respectively; (2) identification of the human VNN3 gene and the demonstration that the mouse Vanin-3 molecule is secreted by cells, and (3) that the Vanin genes encode different isoforms of the mammalian pantetheinase activity. Thus, the Vanin family represents a novel class of secreted or membrane-associated ectoenzymes. We discuss here their possible role in processes pertaining to tissue repair in the context of oxidative stress.
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