The complete primary structure of the core protein of rat NG2, a large, chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan expressed on O2A progenitor cells, has been determined from cDNA clones. These cDNAs hybridize to an mRNA species of 8.9 kbp from rat neural cell lines. The total contiguous cDNA spans 8,071 nucleotides and contains an open reading frame for 2,325 amino acids. The predicted protein is an integral membrane protein with a large extracellular domain (2,224 amino acids), a single transmembrane domain (25 amino acids), and a short cytoplasmic tail (76 amino acids). Based on the deduced amino acid sequence and immunochemical analysis of proteolytic fragments of NG2, the extracellular region can be divided into three domains: an amino terminal cysteine-containing domain which is stabilized by intrachain disulfide bonds, a serine-glycine-containing domain to which chondroitin sulfate chains are attached, and another cysteine-containing domain. Four internal repeats, each consisting of 200 amino acids, are found in the extracellular domain of NG2. These repeats contain a short sequence that resembles the putative Ca(++)-binding region of the cadherins. The sequence of NG2 does not show significant homology with any other known proteins, suggesting that NG2 is a novel species of integral membrane proteoglycan.

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