Angiogenin, a homologue of pancreatic ribonuclease, is a potent inducer of blood vessel formation. As an initial step toward investigating the in vivo functional role of this protein via gene disruption, we undertook the isolation of the angiogenin gene (Ang) from the 129 strain mouse, which will be used for generating targeting constructs. Unexpectedly, screening of a genomic library with an Ang gene probe obtained previously from the BALB/c strain yielded two new genes closely similar to Ang rather than Ang itself. One of these encodes a protein with 78% sequence identity to angiogenin and is designated ‘Angrp’ for ‘angiogenin-related protein.’ The ribonucleolytic active site of angiogenin, which is critical for angiogenic activity, is completely conserved in Angrp, whereas a second essential site, thought to bind cellular receptors, is considerably different. Thus, the Angrp product may have a function distinct from that of angiogenin. The second gene obtained by library screening is a pseudogene, designated ‘Ang-ps1,’ that contains a frameshift mutation in the early part of the coding region. Although the Ang gene was not isolated from this library, it was possible to amplify this gene from 129 mouse genomic DNA by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Sequence analysis showed that the 129 strain Ang gene is identical to the BALB/c gene throughout the coding region. PCR cloning also yielded a second Ang-like pseudogene, designated ‘Ang-ps2,’ Southern blotting of genomic DNA confirmed the presence of Ang, Angrp, and at least one of the pseudogenes in an individual mouse and suggested that the mouse Ang gene family may contain more than the four members identified here.
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