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Calnexin is a membrane-bound protein of the ER in animal cells (Wada et al., 1991). It shows considerable similarity to the major calcium-sequestering protein of the ER lumen, calreticulin, with two calcium-binding regions--a high-affinity, low-capacity region in the ER lumen and a low-affinity, high-capacity region in the cytoplasm. The protein is postulated to act as a calcium-regulated chaperone during protein maturation (Ou et al., 1993). We have isolated a genomic sequence showing significant homology to the animal gene over the predicted coding sequence (Table I). A partial cDNA from Zea mays was isolated from an expression library made from 6-d coleoptiles (Clontech, Palo Alto, CA). The library was screened using a monoclonal antibody raised against a small number of microsomal proteins resulting from a partial purification of plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase (Briars et al., 1988). The partial cDNA showed sequence homology to the calcium-binding region common to calreticulin and calnexin. The fragment was used to screen a genomic library constructed from Arabidopsis thaliana (cv Larasbonerecta), and a 15-kb fragment was isolated and subcloned and the relevant subfragments were sequenced. The coding region contains five introns, two in the N-terminal region and three in the C-terminal region. The predicted amino acid sequence shows a high level of homology with the animal calnexin, although the terminal highly acidic calcium-binding region is shorter. A cDNA for a putative homolog of calnexin was isolated from A. thaliana (cv Columbia) by Huang et al.(1993); our coding sequence shows 85% identity and 92% similarity determined by FASTA (Wisconsin Genetics Computer Group package); however, the differences are greater than would be expected between cultivars of the same species. A Southern blot probed with DNA from the central calcium-binding region shows multiple bands. This, combined with the sequence heterogeneity, suggests that calnexin belongs to a family of related genes.


Journal article


Plant Physiol

Publication Date





Animals, Arabidopsis, Base Sequence, Calcium-Binding Proteins, Calnexin, Databases, Factual, Genes, Plant, Membrane Proteins, Molecular Sequence Data, Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid