Type XII collagen is a member of the FACIT (fibril-associated collagens with interrupted triple helices) group of extracellular matrix proteins. Like the other members of this group, collagen types IX and XIV, type XII has alternating triple-helical and non-triple-helical domains. Because of its structure, its association with collagen fibrils, and its distribution in dense connective tissues, type XII is thought possibly to act as a cross-bridge between fibrils and resist shear forces caused by tension. A portion of the mouse gene was isolated by screening a genomic library with a chicken α1(XII) cDNA probe, followed by subcloning and sequence analysis. Comparison of exon sequences with the sequence of a mouse cDNA clone allowed the mouse gene to be identified as the α1(XII) collagen gene. In the mouse, Col12a1 is located on chromosome 9, as determined by linkage analysis using DNA from interspecific backcrosses with Mus spretus. Screening of a human genomic library also allowed the isolation of a human α1(XII)-like gene (CoL12A1). This gene was mapped to chromosome 6 by blot hybridization to DNA from human/hamster hybrid cell lines. This information should prove useful in determining the role of type XII collagen genes as candidate genes in inheritable connective tissue diseases.
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