Type XIX collagen is a newly discovered member of the FACIT (fibril- associated collagens with interrupted triple helices) group of extracellular matrix proteins. Based on the primary structure, type XIX collagen is thought to act as a cross-bridge between fibrils and other extracellular matrix molecules. Here we describe the complete exon/intron organization of COL19A1 and show that it contains 51 exons, spanning more than 250 kb of genomic DNA. The comparison of exon structures of COL19A1 and other FACIT family genes revealed several similarities among these genes. The structure of exons encoding the noncollagenous (NC) 1-collagenous (COL) 1-NC 2-COL 2-NC 3-COL 3- NC 4 domain of the α1(XIX) chain is similar to that of the NC 1-COL 1-NC 2- COL 3-NC 3 domain of the α2(IX) chain except for the NC 3 domain of α1(XIX). The exons encoding the COL 5-NC 6 domain of α1(XIX) are also similar to those of the COL 3-NC 4 domain of α1(IX) chain. Previously, COL19A1 was mapped to human chromosome 6q12-q14, where COL9A1 is also located. Likewise, the present work shows that the mouse Col19a1 gene is located on mouse chromosome 1, region A3, where Col9a1 has also been mapped. Taken together, the data suggest that COL19A1 and COL9A1 (Col19a1 and Col9a1) were duplicated from the same ancestor gene of the FACIT family. Three CA repeat markers with high heterozygosity were found in COL19A1. These markers may be useful for linkage analysis of age-related inheritable diseases involved in eyes and/or brain.
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