Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) has recently been found to share receptor components with, and to be structurally related to, a family of broadly acting cytokines, including interleukin-6, leukemia inhibitory factor, and oncostatin M. However, the CNTF receptor complex also includes a CNTF-specific component known as CNTF receptor α (CNTFRα). Here we describe the molecular cloning of the human and mouse genes encoding CNTFR. We report that the human and mouse genes have an identical intron-exon structure that correlates well with the domain structure of CNTFRα. That is, the signal peptide and the immunoglobulin-like domain are each encoded by single exons, the cytokine receptor-like domain is distributed among 4 exons, and the C-terminal glycosyl phosphatidylinositol recognition domain is encoded by the final coding exon. The position of the introns within the cytokine receptor-like domain corresponds to those found in other members of the cytokine receptor superfamily. Confirming a recent study using radiation hybrids, we have also mapped the human CNTFR gene to chromosome band 9p13 and the mouse gene to a syntenic region of chromosome 4.
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