The extracellular matrix glycoprotein tenascin is expressed in the developing mouse cerebellum as a group of four protein species of different molecular weights. The difference is most likely due to alternative splicing which is known to occurr in tenascin mRNA isoforms that would account for this heterogeneity, tenascin splice variants were isolated from mouse brain by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In agreement with Northern blot analysis, amplification by PCR revealed a general decrease in tenascin mRNA expression during development from embryonic and early postnatal to adult stages. This decrease was more pronounced for isoforms of high molecular weight compared to those of low molecular weight. In accord with the observations at the protein level, four splice variants were found to be predominantly expressed, containing insertions of either six, five, or one fibronection type III repeat, or comprising no insertion. In addition, a minor splice variant with an insertion of four fibronectin type III repeats was isolated. Three of the isolated mRNA splice variants have not yet been described for mouse tenascin. Among them, an isoform containing six alternatively spliced repeats was found to include a novel fibronectin type III repeat. The sequence of this repeat displays 96.7% similarity to a corresponding type III repeat in human tenascin, revealing a strict evolutionary conservation between tenascin molecules from different species in the region of alternative splicing. Southern blot analysis of the amplified mRNA isoforms showed that the novel mouse type III repeat is confined to splice variants with an insertion of six fibronectin type III repeats. Furthermore, in situ hybridization on sections from mouse embryos indicated that tenascin‐specific mRNAs containing the novel type III repeat are predominantly expressed in the central nervous system. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience