Murine sex-limited protein (Slp) is a structural homologue of the murine fourth complement component (C4) that lacks C4 activity and has no known function. The genes for C4 and Slp lie closely linked in the S region of the murine major histocompatibility complex. We have sequenced a cDNA clone that spans the entire protein-coding region of Slp from the mouse strain B10.WR. The sequence contains a 1735 amino acid-long open reading frame encoding a putative prepro-Slp flanked by 51 and 103 untranslated nucleotides at the 5' and 3' ends respectively; it shows 96% nucleotide and 94% amino acid identity with our previously reported complete sequence of murine C4 from the same mouse strain. The present complete Slp sequence differs slightly from our previously reported partial sequence from the same mouse strain; this suggests that at least two distinct Slp genes are transcribed in B10.WR mice. We suggest, by analogy with procaryotic DNA-binding proteins, that a three amino acid deletion in Slp, close to the Cls cleavage site, makes that site resistant to proteolysis; this renders Slp inactive. We also speculate on the possibility that Slp might be a gene in evolutionary transition; one that is midway in the evolution of a completely silent pseudogene or a new gene with a novel function.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.