The myelin associated glycoproteins (MAG) are integral plasma membrane proteins which are found in oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells and are believed to mediate the axonal-glial interactions of myelination. In this paper we demonstrate the existence in central nervous system myelin of two MAG polypeptides with Mrs of 67,000 and 72,000 that we have designated small MAG (S-MAG) and large MAG (L-MAG), respectively. The complete amino acid sequence of L-MAG and a partial amino acid sequence of S-MAG have been deduced from the nucleotide sequences of corresponding cDNA clones isolated from a lambda gt11 rat brain expression library. Based on their amino acid sequences, we predict that both proteins have an identical membrane spanning segment and a large extracellular domain. The putative extracellular region contains an Arg-Gly-Asp sequence that may be involved in the interaction of these proteins with the axon. The extracellular portion of L-MAG also contains five segments of internal homology that resemble immunoglobulin domains, and are strikingly homologous to similar domains of the neural cell adhesion molecule and other members of the immunoglobulin gene superfamily. In addition, the two MAG proteins differ in the extent of their cytoplasmically disposed segments and appear to be the products of alternatively spliced mRNAs. Of considerable interest is the finding that the cytoplasmic domain of L-MAG, but not of S-MAG, contains an amino acid sequence that resembles the autophosphorylation site of the epidermal growth factor receptor.

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