Identification of beta1C-2, a novel variant of the integrin beta1 subunit generated by utilization of an alternative splice acceptor site in exon C.
A new splice variant of the human integrin subunit beta1 has been identified and designated beta1C-2. It differs from the previously reported beta1C (in this report designated beta1C-1) by 18 nucleotides, and is generated by splicing from exon 6 to an alternative splice acceptor site within exon C, causing an in-frame deletion of six amino acids of the cytoplasmic region of beta1C-1. The beta1C-2 mRNA is present in several human cell lines and tissues at low levels, similarly to beta1C-1. In peripheral T-lymphocytes, beta1C-2 is the selectively expressed isoform. Neither beta1C-1 nor beta1C-2 mRNA could be detected in mouse tissues, and Southern hybridization of a mouse genomic beta1 clone with a human exon-C-specific probe failed to identify a corresponding mouse exon. The antisense orientation of exon C is highly homologous to an Alu element. Since Alu elements are restricted to primates, the beta1C-1 and beta1C-2 variants of the integrin subunit beta1 are specific for these species. The protein coded for by the beta1C-2 cDNA can be expressed and localized to the surface of beta1 deficient mouse cells. However, while stable transformed clones expressing high levels of the beta1A were commonly found, the beta1C-1 and beta1C-2 expressing clones expressed barely detectable amounts of the beta1 protein. Hence, high levels of beta1C-2 may be incompatible with cell proliferation, as previously suggested for beta1C-1.