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The primary structure of the α subunit of elongation factor 1 (EF- 1α) from human MOLT 4 cells was determined by cDNA sequencing. The data show that the conservation of the amino acid sequence is more than 80% when compared with yeast and Artemia EF-1α. An inventory of amino acid sequences around the guanine-nucleotide-binding site in elongation factor Tu from Escherichia coli and homologous amino acid sequences in G proteins, initiation and elongation factors and proteins from the RAS family shows two regions containing conserved seqence elements.

Region I has the sequence apolar-Xaa-Xaa-Xaa-Gly-Xaa-Xaa-Yaa-Xaa-Gly-Lys-Thr(Ser)-Xaa-Xaa-Xaa-Xaa-X-apolar. Except for RAS proteins, Yaa is always an acidic amino acid residue. Region II is characterized by the invariant sequence apolar-apolar-Xaa-Xaa-Asn-Lys-Xaa-Asp. In order to facilitate sequence comparison we have used a graphic display, which is based on the hydrophilicity values of individual amino acids in a sequence.