Receptor protein tyrosine kinases (RPTK) are critical components of signal transduction pathways in multicellular organisms. Identification of new RPTK constitutes an initial step in understanding the variety of signalling pathways in which these proteins participate. In this study, a cDNA containing a complete coding sequence for Cek7 (chicken RPTK) has been cloned from a chicken embryo expression library using anti-phosphotyrosine antibodies (Ab). Cek7 is a member of the EPH (human RPTK) subfamily of RPTK; this subfamily is characterized by extracellular domains containing an immunoglobulin-like motif, a Cys-rich region and two fibronectin type-III repeats. Analysis of additional cDNAs revealed that two positions of alternative splicing in primary transcripts may produce several isoforms of this RPTK; cDNAs corresponding to three isoforms of this receptor are reported. These isoforms are predicted to have altered extracellular ligand-binding domains and/or altered cytoplasmic juxtamembrane regions. The nucleotide sequence of cek7 cDNAs identified in this study diverges at the 3' end from the sequence found in a recently described partial cek7 cDNA [Sajjadi and Pasquale, Oncogene 8 (1993) 1807-1813]. Therefore, a third position of alternative splicing may produce Cek7 RPTK with divergent C-terminal tails. RNA blot analysis revealed expression of this receptor at highest levels in the central nervous system and eyes of 10-day-old chicken embryos.
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