We have identified, characterized and cloned a novel mammalian myosin-I motor-molecule, called myr 1 (myosin-I from rat). Myr 1 exists in three alternative splice forms: myr 1a, myr 1b, and myr 1c. These splice forms differ in their numbers of putative calmodulin/light chain binding sites. Myr 1a-c were selectively released by ATP, bound in a nucleotide-dependent manner to F-actin and exhibited amino acid sequences characteristic of myosin-I motor domains. In addition to the motor domain, they contained a regulatory domain with up to six putative calmodulin/light chain binding sites and a tail domain. The tail domain exhibited 47% amino acid sequence identity to the brush border myosin-I tail domain, demonstrating that myr 1 is related to the only other mammalian myosin-I motor molecule that has been characterized so far. In contrast to brush border myosin-I which is expressed in mature enterocytes, myr 1 splice forms were differentially expressed in all tested tissues. Therefore, myr 1 is the first mammalian myosin-I motor molecule with a widespread tissue distribution in neonatal and adult tissues. The myr 1a splice form was preferentially expressed in neuronal tissues. Its expression was developmentally regulated during rat forebrain ontogeny and subcellular fractionation revealed an enrichment in purified growth cone particles, data consistent with a role for myr 1a in neuronal development.

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