We have isolated a human cDNA which corresponds to a developmentally regulated sarcomeric myosin heavy chain. RNA hybridization and DNA sequence analysis indicate that this cDNA, called SMHCP, encodes a perinatal myosin heavy chain isoform. The nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of the 3.4-kb cDNA insert show strong homology with other sarcomeric myosin heavy chains. The strongest homology is to a previously described 970-bp cDNA encoding a rat perinatal isoform (Periasamy, M., D. F. Wieczorek, and B. Nadal-Ginard. 1984. J. Biol. Chem. 259:13573-13578). The homology between the analogous human and rat perinatal myosin heavy chain cDNAs is maintained through the highly isoform-specific final 20 carboxyl-terminal amino acids, as well as the 3' untranslated region. Ribonuclease protection studies show that the mRNA encoding this isoform is expressed at high levels in 21-wk fetal skeletal tissue and not in fetal cardiac muscle. In contrast to the rat perinatal isoform, which was not found to be expressed in adult hind-leg tissue, the gene encoding SMHCP continues to be expressed in adult human skeletal tissue, but at lower levels relative to fetal skeletal tissue.

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