cDNA-derived amino acid sequence of the 86-kDa subunit of the Ku antigen.
The Ku antigen is a DNA-associated nuclear protein recognized by sera from patients with autoimmune diseases. It consists of two polypeptides of 86 and 70 kDa. cDNA clones encoding the 86-kDa subunit of the Ku antigen were isolated by probing lambda gt11 recombinant cDNA expression libraries with a monoclonal antibody specific for this protein. The amino acid sequence deduced from the cDNA comprises 732 amino acids and corresponds to a protein with molecular weight of 81.914. Nineteen residues at the NH2 terminus determined by protein sequencing corresponded to the sequence deduced from the cDNA. The predicted amino acid sequence contains a region with repeating leucine residues similar to the "leucine zipper" structure observed in the c-myc, v-myc, and c-fos oncogene products. The largest cDNA hybridized to 2.7- and 3.4-kilobase poly(A)+ mRNAs from HeLa cells. The cDNA clones expressed fusion proteins immunoreactive with the monoclonal antibody and sera from patients with autoimmune diseases.