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Structure of human clathrin light chains. Conservation of light chain polymorphism in three mammalian species.

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      Complementary DNAs (cDNA) encoding the brain and non-brain forms of the human clathrin light chains LCa and LCb have been isolated, sequenced, and compared with their homologues in cow and rat. The significant differences that distinguish LCa from LCb and the brain from non-brain forms show remarkable preservation in all three species. These features include the position and sequence of the brain-specific inserts, a totally conserved region of 22 residues near the amino terminus, the LCb-specific phosphorylation site, the heavy chain binding site, and a distinctive pattern of cysteine residues near the carboxyl terminus. Unorthodox sequences for translation initiation and polyadenylation are found for LCb contrasting with LCa which exhibits orthodox regulatory sequences. Small insertions in human LCa revealed a duplicated sequence of 13 residues that flank the 22-residue conserved region. Only the carboxyl-terminal copy of this sequence is present in LCb. All sequences are consistent with the heavy chain binding site comprising an alpha-helical central region of the light chains. The hydrophobic face of this helix, which is presumed to interact with the heavy chain, is highly conserved between LCa and LCb, whereas the hydrophilic face shows considerable divergence. To help define the carboxyl-terminal limit of the heavy chain binding region, the epitope recognized by the CVC.6 monoclonal antibody was localized to residues 192-208 of LCa with glutamic acid 198 being of most importance. The faithful preservation of clathrin light chain polymorphism in three mammalian species provides evidence supporting a functional diversification of the brain and non-brain forms of LCa and LCb.

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