Structure and expression of the gene encoding cystatin D, a novel human cysteine proteinase inhibitor

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A new member of the human cystatin multigene family has been cloned from a genomic library using a cystatin C cDNA probe. The complete nucleotide sequence of a 4.3-kilobase DNA segment, containing a complete gene with structure very similar to those of known Family 2 cystatin genes, was determined. The novel gene, called CST4, is composed of three exons and two introns. It contains the coding information for a protein of 142 amino acid residues, which has been tentatively called cystatin D. The deduced amino acid sequence includes a putative signal peptide and presents 51-55% identical residues with the sequences of either cystatin C or the secretory gland cystatins S, SN, or SA. The cystatin D sequence contains all regions of relevance for cysteine proteinase inhibitory activity and also the 4 cysteine residues that form disulfide bridges in the other members of cystatin Family 2. Northern blot analysis revealed that the cystatin D gene is expressed in parotid gland but not in seminal vesicle, prostate, epididymis, testis, ovary, placenta, thyroid, gastric corpus, small intestine, liver, or gall-bladder tissue. This tissue-restricted expression is in marked contrast with the wider distribution of all the other Family 2 cystatins, since cystatin C is expressed in all these tissues and the secretory gland cystatins are present in saliva, seminal plasma, and tears. Cystatin D, being the first described member of a third subfamily within the cystatin Family 2, thus appears to have a distinct function in the body in contrast to other cystatins.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20538-20543
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Publication categoryResearch