The murine chaperonin 10 gene family contains an intronless, putative gene for early pregnancy factor, Cpn10-rs1
Early pregnancy factor (EPF) is a secreted protein with growth regulatory and immunomodulatory properties. Human platelet-derived EPF shares amino acid sequence identity with chaperonin 10 (Cpn10), a mitochondrial matrix protein which functions as a molecular chaperone. The striking differences in cellular localization and function of the two proteins suggest differential regulation of production reflecting either alternative transcription of the same gene or transcription from different genes. In mammals and more distantly related genera, there is a large gene family with homology to CPN10 cDNA, which includes intronless copies of the coding sequence. To determine whether this could represent the gene for EPF, we have screened a mouse genomic library and sequenced representative Cpn10 family members, looking for a functional gene distinct from that of Cpn10, which could encode EPF. Eight distinct genes were identified. Cpn10 contains introns, while other members are intronless. Six of these appear to be pseudogenes, and the remaining member, Cpn10-rs1, would encode a full-length protein. The 309-bp open reading frame (ORF) is identical to that of mouse Cpn10 cDNA with the exception of three single-base changes, two resulting in amino acid changes. Only one further single nucleotide difference between the Cpn10-rs1 and Cpn10 cDNAs is observed, located in the 3′ UTR. Single nucleotide primer extension was applied to discriminate between Cpn10-rs1 and Cpn10 expression. Cpn10, which is ubiquitous, was detected in all tissue samples tested, whereas Cpn10-rs1 was expressed selectively. The pattern was completely coincident with known patterns of EPF activity, strongly suggesting that Cpn10-rs1 does encode EPF. The complete ORF of Cpn10-rs1 was expressed in E. coli. The purified recombinant protein was found to be equipotent with native human platelet-derived EPF in the bioassay for EPF, the rosette inhibition test.
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