Carboxy-terminal-extended variant of the human fibrinogen alpha subunit: a novel exon conferring marked homology to beta and gamma subunits.
Similarities between the N-terminal regions of the three subunits of the clotting protein fibrinogen--(alpha beta gamma)2--suggest that they evolved from a common progenitor. However, to date no human alpha chain has been found with the strong C-terminal homology shared by the beta and gamma chains. Here we examine the natural product of a novel fibrinogen alpha chain transcript bearing a separate open reading frame that supplies the missing C-terminal homology to the other chains. Additional splicing leads to the use of this extra sequence as a sixth exon elongating the alpha chain by 35%. Since the extended alpha chain (alpha E) is assembled into fibrinogen molecules and its synthesis is enhanced by interleukin-6, it suggests participation in both the acute phase response and normal physiology.