• MUC4;
  • SMC;
  • expression;
  • large exon;
  • tandem repeat

We report here the full coding sequence of a novel mouse putative membrane-associated mucin containing three extracellular EGF-like motifs and a mucin-like domain consisting of at least 20 tandem repeats of 124–126 amino acids. Screening a cosmid and a BAC libraries allowed to isolate several genomic clones. Genomic and cDNA sequence comparisons showed that the gene consists of 25 exons and 24 introns covering a genomic region of ≈ 52 kb. The first intron is ≈ 16 kb in length and is followed by an unusually large exon (≈ 9.5 kb) encoding Ser/Thr-rich tandemly repeated sequences. Radiation hybrid mapping localized this new gene to a mouse region of chromosome 16, which is the orthologous region of human chromosome 3q29 encompassing the large membrane-anchored mucin MUC4. Contigs analysis of the Human Genome Project did not reveal any other mucin on chromosome 3q29 and, interestingly, our analysis allowed the determination of the genomic organization of the human MUC4 and showed that its exon/intron structure is identical to that of the mouse gene we cloned. Furthermore, the human MUC4 shares considerable homologies with the mouse gene. Based on these data, we concluded that we isolated the mouse ortholog of MUC4 we propose as Muc4. Expression studies showed that Muc4 is ubiquitous like SMC and MUC4, with highest levels of expression in trachea and intestinal tract.