Two cDNAs encoding an abundant chicken muscle extracellular matrix (ECM)-associated laminin-binding protein (LBP) have been isolated and sequenced. The predicted primary amino acid sequence includes a probable signal peptide and a site for N-linked glycosylation, but lacks a hydrophobic segment long enough to span the membrane. The COOH terminus consists of an unusual repeat of 33 consecutive aspartate residues. Comparison with other sequences indicates that this protein is different from previously described LBPs and ECM receptors. RNA blot analysis of LBP gene expression showed that LBP mRNA was abundant in skeletal and heart muscle, but barely detectable in other tissues. Blots of chicken genomic DNA suggest that a single gene encodes this LBP. The amino acid sequence and mRNA distribution are consistent with the biochemical characterization described by Hall and co-workers (Hall, D. E., K. A. Frazer, B. C. Hahn, and L. F. Reichardt. 1988. J. Cell Biol. 107:687-697). These analyses indicate that LBP is an abundant ECM-associated muscle protein with an unusually high negative charge that interacts with both membranes and laminin, and has properties of a peripheral, not integral membrane protein. Taken together, our studies show that muscle LBP is a secreted, peripheral membrane protein with an unusual polyaspartate domain. Its laminin and membrane binding properties suggest that it may help mediate muscle cell interactions with the extracellular matrix. We propose the name "aspartactin" for this LBP.

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