Human KRIT1 (Krev interaction trapped 1), a defective gene product in cerebral cavernous malformation, was cloned from a HeLa cell cDNA library by virtue of its interaction with Krev/rap1A, a small rasfamily GTPase. We have now characterized the full-length cDNA for the murine orthologue that encodes a predicted protein of 736 amino acids, 207 amino acids longer than the previously reported human protein. 5′ Rapid amplification of cDNA ends analysis of mouse mRNA demonstrated a single transcriptional start site. The putative initiator codon was found within a context that conformed well to the Kozak consensus sequence and was preceded by an in-frame termination codon, BLAST analysis revealed that conceptual translation of a fragment of human genomic DNA upstream of the 5′ end of the reported KRIT1 coding sequence predicts extension of the human open reading frame by 207 codons with 95% amino acid identity between the novel putative human and murine amino termini. This block of coding sequence was divided among four exons that are flanked by consensus splice site sequences. The extreme evolutionary conservation of this region, including a putative nuclear localization signal, indicates functional importance. These data have immediate relevance to mutation screening efforts in cerebral cavernous malformation and may contribute to our understanding of the normal biology of KRIT1 and the pathogenesis of this disorder.
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