We cloned a novel ankyrin, Ank3, from mouse kidney cDNA. The full-length transcript is predicted to encode a 214-kD protein containing an 89 kD, NH2 terminal "repeat" domain; a 65 kD, central "spectrin-binding" domain; and a 56 kD, COOH-terminal "regulatory" domain. The Ank3 gene maps to mouse Chromosome 10, approximately 36 cM from the centromere, a locus distinct from Ank1 and Ank2. Ank3 is the major kidney ankyrin. Multiple transcripts of approximately 7.5, 6.9, 6.3, 5.7, 5.1, and 4.6 kb are highly expressed in kidney where Ank1 and Ank2 mRNAs are barely detectable. The smaller mRNAs (< or = 6.3 kb) lack the entire repeat domain. These transcripts have a unique 5'untranslated region and NH2-terminal sequence and encode a predicted protein of 121 kD. Two small sequences of 21 and 18 amino acids are alternatively spliced at the junction of the repeat and spectrin-binding domains in the larger (> or = 6.9 kb) RNAs. Alternative splicing of a 588 bp sequence (corresponding to a 21.5-kD acidic amino acid sequence) within the regulatory domain also occurs. Ank3 is much more widely expressed than previously described ankyrins. By Northern hybridization or immunocytochemistry, it is present in most epithelial cells, in neuronal axons, in muscle cells, and in megakaryocytes/platelets, macrophages, and the interstitial cells of Leydig (testis). On immunoblots, an antibody raised to a unique regions of the regulatory domain detects multiple Ank3 isoforms in the kidney (215, 200, 170, 120, 105 kD) and in other tissues. The 215/200 kD and 120/105-kD kidney proteins are close to the sizes predicted for the 7.5/6.9- and 6.3/5.7-kb RNAs (with/without the 588-bp acidic insert). Interestingly, it appears that Ank3 exhibits a polarized distribution only in tissues that express the approximately 7.0-kb isoforms, the only isoforms in the kidney that contain the repeat domain. In tissues where smaller transcripts (< or = 6.3 kb) are expressed. Ank3 is diffusely distributed in some or all cells and may be associated with cytoplasmic structures. We conclude that Ank3 is a broadly distributed epithelial ankyrin and is the major ankyrin in the kidney and other tissues, where it plays an important role in the polarized distribution of many integral membrane proteins.

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