The genes COL4A5 and COL4A6, coding for the basement membrane collagen chains, α5(IV) and α6(IV), respectively, are located head-to-head in close proximity on human chromosome Xq22, and COL4A6 is transcribed from two alternative promoters in a tissue-specific fashion (Sugimoto M., Oohashi T., and Ninomiya Y. (1994) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 91, 11679-11683). Immunofluorescence studies using α chain-specific antibodies demonstrated that the two genes are expressed in a tissue-specific manner (Ninomiya, Y., Kagawa, M., Iyama, K., Naito, I., Kishiro, Y., Seyer, J. M., Sugimoto, M., Oohashi, T., and Sado, Y. (1995) J. Cell Biol. 130, 1219-1229). We report here for the first time the isolation and the structural organization of the human COL4A6 gene. The entire gene presumably exceeds 200 kilobase pairs and contains 46 exons. Exons 1' and 1 encode the two different 5'-UTRs and the two amino-terminal parts of the signal peptide. The carboxyl part of the signal peptide and the 7 S domain are coded for by the following 6 different exons, 2-7, whereas the exons 7-42 encode the central COL 1 domain, which contains the Gly-X-Y repeats. The last three exons, 4345, encode the carboxyl-terminal NC1 domain. Sizes of more than a half of the exons of the gene are the same as those of Col4a2 but quite different from those of COL4A5. Within the COL4A6 gene we found three CA repeat markers that can be used for allele detection. The detailed structure of the COL4A6 gene and the high heterozygosity microsatellite markers located within the gene will be useful for linkage analysis and familial diagnosis of diseases caused by mutations of this gene.
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