Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is an intermediate-filament (IF) protein that is highly specific for cells of astroglial lineage, although its tissue-specific role is speculative. Determination of the primary structure of this protein should be of importance for understanding the functional role it plays in astroglia. Therefore, we isolated a cDNA clone encoding this protein and determined its nucleotide sequence. The predicted amino acid sequence indicates that GFAP shares structural similarities - particularly in the central rod domain and to a lesser degree in the carboxyl-terminal domain - with other IF proteins found in nonepithelial cell types. Considerable sequence divergence in the amino-terminal region of GFAP suggests that the tissue-specific functions of this IF protein might be mediated through this region of the molecule. In contrast, conservation of structural characteristics and a moderate degree of sequence conservation in the carboxyl-terminal region suggest functional similarities. Blot hybridization analysis using the GFAP cDNA as a probe failed to detect GFAP mRNA in both normal and neoplastic human tissues in which IF proteins other than GFAP are known to be expressed.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 1989|
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