The class III region of the human major histocompatibility complex spans approx. 1.1 Mbp on the short arm of chromosome 6 and is known to contain at least 36 genes. The complete nucleotide sequence of a 3.4 kb mRNA from one of these genes, G9a (or BAT8), has been determined from cDNA and genomic DNA clones. The single-copy G9a gene encodes a protein product of 1001 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 111,518 Da. The C-terminal region (residues 730-999) of the G9a protein has been expressed in Escherichia coli as a fusion protein with the 26 kDa glutathione S-transferase of Schistosoma japonicum (Sj26). The fusion protein has been used to raise antisera which, in Western-blot analysis, cross-react specifically with an intracellular protein of approx. 98 kDa. The function of the G9a protein is unknown. However, comparison of the derived amino acid sequence of G9a with the protein databases has revealed interesting similarities with a number of other proteins. The C-terminal region of G9a is 35% identical with a 149 amino acid segment of the Drosophila trithorax protein. In addition the G9a protein has been shown to contain six contiguous copies of a 33-amino acid repeat. This repeat, originally identified in the Notch protein of Drosophila and known as the cdc10/SW16 or ANK repeat, is also found in a number of other human proteins and may be involved in intracellular protein-protein interactions.

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