Rat α2-macroglobulin (α2M) is an acute-phase protein i.e., produced upon tissue inflammation. Genomic DNA clones covering the entire sequence of the α2M gene were isolated and characterized by restriction mapping, Southern blotting and (partial) DNA sequencing. The rat α2M gene is approx. 50 kb in length and consists of 36 exons ranging in size from 21 to 229 bp. Two functional domains, a bait region and a thiol ester site, are encoded by the exon 18 and 24, respectively. Several possible regulatory signals such as a TPA-inducible enhancer core, an identifier sequence, purine-pyrimidine alternative stretches and viral enhancer core sequences were identified. Several genomic DNA clones which cross-hybridized with the α2M cDNA probe were also identified. Sequence analysis showed that they possessed sequences identical to a part of the rat α1-inhibitor III cDNA and that they had a strikingly similar exon organization to the α2M gene.
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