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

Cloning and origin of the two forms of chicken vitamin D receptor.

The cDNA for the chicken vitamin D receptor (VDR) has been cloned in full length by screening cDNA libraries from chicken intestine and chicken kidney. The chicken kidney cDNA library constructed by both oligo(dT) and random primer methods yielded several full-length clones. These contained a 66-bp additional coding sequence at the 5' end in comparison to the cDNAs of human, rat, and mouse VDR. The Japanese quail VDR cDNA was also cloned in full length. We found that the 5' coding sequence reported previously had been artifactually inverted. Both chicken and quail cDNAs have three conserved ATG sites for translation initiation with the 3' one corresponding to the only ATG site found in the mammalian cDNAs. Northern blot analysis showed that the VDR gene is expressed as a single 2.69-kb transcript in chicken intestine and kidney. An analysis of the avian multiple ATG sites revealed that the first ATG is in a suboptimal context of TCCATGT, while the second ATG is in AGC-ATGG, matching the optimal context: R-3NNATGG+4. As a result, the two forms of chicken VDR (cVDR) (form A, 60.3 kDa; form B, 58.6 kDa) likely arise from the first and second ATG sites of a single mRNA during translation. Mutational analysis confirmed this belief. The wild-type construct starting from the first ATG site with its original context was subcloned into pCMV5 expression vector and expressed in COS-1 cells. Two receptor proteins, exactly comigrating with the form A and form B cVDRs isolated from chicken intestine, were detected by immunoblotting. Point mutations optimizing the first ATG context led to exclusive production of form A, while knocking out the first ATG site resulted in the sole generation of form B. Form A translated from the first ATG site has 451 amino acids, and form B from the second ATG has 437 amino acids. Comparison between avian and mammalian VDRs indicated that VDR is essentially conserved in DNA binding and ligand binding domains. The significant difference especially at the N-terminus demonstrates divergence of this receptor during evolution of these species.[1]


  1. Cloning and origin of the two forms of chicken vitamin D receptor. Lu, Z., Hanson, K., DeLuca, H.F. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. (1997) [Pubmed]
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