Alternative splicing of human elastin mRNA indicated by sequence analysis of cloned genomic and complementary DNA.
Poly(A)+ RNA, isolated from a single 7-mo fetal human aorta, was used to synthesize cDNA by the RNase H method, and the cDNA was inserted into lambda gt10. Recombinant phage containing elastin sequences were identified by hybridization with cloned, exon-containing fragments of the human elastin gene. Three clones containing inserts of 3.3, 2.7, and 2.3 kilobases were selected for further analysis. Three overlapping clones containing 17.8 kilobases of the human elastin gene were also isolated from genomic libraries. Complete sequence analysis of the six clones demonstrated that: the cDNA encompassed the entire translated portion of the mRNA encoding 786 amino acids, including several unusual hydrophilic amino acid sequences not previously identified in porcine tropoelastin, exons encoding either hydrophobic or crosslinking domains in the protein alternated in the gene, and a great abundance of Alu repetitive sequences occurred throughout the introns. The data also indicated substantial alternative splicing of the mRNA. These results suggest the potential for significant variation in the precise molecular structure of the elastic fiber in the human population.