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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Length polymorphisms in human proline-rich protein genes generated by intragenic unequal crossing over.

Southern blot hybridization analysis of genomic DNAs from 44 unrelated individuals revealed extensive insertion/deletion polymorphisms within the BstNI-type loci (PRB1, PRB2, PRB3 and PRB4) of the human proline-rich protein ( PRP) multigene family. Ten length variants were cloned, including alleles at each of the four PRB loci, and in every case the region of length difference was localized to the tandemly repetitious third exon. DNA sequences covering the region of length variation were determined for seven of the alleles. The data indicate (1) that the PRB loci can be divided into two subtypes, PRB1 plus PRB2, and PRB3 plus PRB4, and (2) that the length differences result from different numbers of tandem repeats in the third exons. Variant chromosomes were also identified with different numbers of PRP loci resulting from homologous but unequal exchange between the PRB1 and PRB2 loci. The overall data are compatible with the observed length variants having been generated via homologous but unequal intragenic exchange. The results also indicate that these crossover events are sensitive to the amount of homology shared between the interacting DNA strands. Allelic length variants have arisen independently at least 20 times at the PRB loci, but only one has been detected at a PRH locus. Comparison of the detailed structures of the repetitious regions in PRB and PRH loci shows that the repeats in PRB genes are very similar to each other in sequence and in length. The PRH genes contain fewer repeats, which differ considerably in their individual lengths. These differences suggest that the larger number of length variants in PRB genes is related to their greater ease of homologous but unequal pairing compared to PRH genes.[1]


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