Isolation of cDNA clones encoding human acid sphingomyelinase: occurrence of alternatively processed transcripts

L. E. Quintern, E. H. Schuchman, O. Levran, M. Suchi, K. Ferlinz, H. Reinke, K. Sandhoff, R. J. Desnick

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147 Scopus citations


Acid sphingomyelinase (sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase, EC was purified from human urine and 12 tryptic peptides were microsequenced (128 residues). Based on regions of minimal codon redundancy, four oligonucleotide mixtures were synthesized and oligonucleotide mixture 1 (20mer; 256 mix) was used to screen 3 x 106 independent recombinants from a human fibroblast cDNA library. Putative positive clones (92) were purified and analyzed by Southern hybridization with oligonucleotide mixtures 2-4. These studies revealed two groups of clones; group I (80 clones; inserts ranging from ~ 1.2 to 1.6 kg) hybridized with oligonucleotide mixtures 1-4, while group II (12 clones; inserts ranging from ~ 1.2 to 1.4 kb) hybridized with oligonucleotide mixtures 1-3. Several group II clones had larger inserts than those in group I, but did not hybridize with oligonucleotide mixture 4. Screening of a human placental cDNA library with a 450 bp group I fragment, also resulted in the isolation of group I and II clones. Representative clones from group I (pASM-1) and group II (pASM-2) were sequenced. pASM-1 contained 1879 bp insert which was colinear with 96 microsequenced amino acids, while the pASM-2 1382 bp insert was colinear with 78 microsequenced residues. Notably, pASM-2 did not have an internal 172 bp sequence encoding 57 amino acid residues, but had instead an in-frame 40 bp sequence encoding 13 amino acids which was not present in pASM-1. These findings demonstrate the presence of two distinct acid sphingomyelinase transcripts in human fibroblasts and placenta and suggest the occurrence of alternative processing of the mRNA encoding this lysosomal hydrolase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2469-2473
Number of pages5
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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