The human tenascin-R gene encodes a multidomain protein belonging to the tenascin family, until now detected only in the central nervous system. During embryo development, tenascin-R is presumed to play a pivotal role in axonal path finding through its adhesive and repulsive properties. Recently, the primary structure of human tenascin-R has been elucidated (Carnemolla, B., Leprini, A., Borsi, L., Querze, G., Urbini, S., and Zardi, L. (1996) J. Biol. Chem. 271, 8157-8160). As a further step to investigate the role of human tenascin-R, we defined the structure of its gene. The gene, which spans a region of chromosome 1 approximately 85 kilobases in length, consists of 21 exons, ranging in size from 90 to >670 base pairs. The sequence analysis of intron splice donor and acceptor sites revealed that the position of introns in human tenascin-R are precisely conserved in the other two tenascin family members, tenascin-C and tenascin-X. The determination of intronic sequences flanking the exon boundaries will allow investigation of whether mutations may be responsible for altered function of the gene product(s) leading to central nervous system development defects.
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