SCG10 is a neuronal growth-associated protein that shares an amino acid sequence similarity with an 18- to 19-kDa phosphoprotein named stathmin (also called p19, p18, Op18, pp17, prosolin, pp20, 19K, and leukemia-associated phosphoprotein, Lap18), which is more broadly expressed in a variety of cell types of the neural, immune, and reproductive systems. The sequence similarity has suggested that SCG10 and stathmin have been derived from structurally and evolutionarily related genes. To explore the structural and evolutionary relationships between these genes, we have isolated a series of cosmid and phage clones that covers the entire region of the mouse stathmin gene and most of the mouse SCG10 gene. The SCG10 transcription unit spans at least 30 kb, while the stathmin gene is 6 kb in length. Both genes consist of five exons, and many of the intron/exon boundaries fall into the homologous regions of conserved domains of these two proteins. However, the promoter- proximal regions are distinct in the two genes, suggesting that they have evolved by fusion of the duplicated coding exons to unique promoters. Southern blot analysis indicates that SCG10 mRNA is encoded by a single gene in the mouse genome, while stathmin cDNA probes detect multiple genes. Chromosome mapping experiments reveal that the SCG10 gene is localized at the proximal region of mouse chromosome 3 and is linked to Il-7, while the stathmin gene loci are distributed to three chromosomes; the authentic stathmin gene lies on chromosome 4, whereas the loci on chromosomes 9 and 17 are likely to be pseudogenes. These data are consistent with the idea that the neuron-specific SCG10 gene evolved by duplication and modification of the more broadly expressed stathmin/Lap18 gene.
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