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We have sequenced the coding and leader regions, as well as part of the 3' untranslated region, of a Xenopus borealis type 1 cytoskeletal actin gene [defined according to the arrangement of acidic residues at the N-terminus; Vandekerckhove et al. (1981) J Mol Biol 152:413-426]. The encoded amino acid sequence is the same as the avian and mammalian beta (type 1) cytoskeletal actins, except for an isoleucine at position 10 (as found in the mammalian gamma cytoskeletal actins), and an extra amino acid, alanine, after the N-terminal methionine. Five introns were found, in the same positions as those of the rat and chicken beta-actin genes. The 5' and 3' untranslated regions resemble those of the human gamma (type 8) cytoskeletal actin gene more closely than the mammalian beta genes. Primer extension showed that this type 1 gene is transcribed in ovary and tadpole. Sequencing of primer extension products demonstrated two additional mRNA species in X. borealis, encoding type 7 and 8 isoforms. This contrasts with the closely related species Xenopus laevis, where type 4, 5, and 8 isoforms have been found. The type 7 isoform has not previously been found in any other species. The mRNAs of the X. borealis type 1 and 8 and X. laevis type 5 and 8 isoforms contain highly homologous leaders. The X. borealis type 7 mRNA has no leader homology with the other mRNA species and, unlike them, has no extra N-terminal alanine codon. The evolutionary implications of these data are discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


J Mol Evol

Publication Date





17 - 28


Actins, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Cloning, Molecular, Cytoskeleton, Female, Genes, Molecular Sequence Data, Nucleotide Mapping, Oocytes, RNA, Messenger, Species Specificity, Transcription, Genetic, Xenopus, Xenopus laevis