Overlapping genomic clones covering the 7.2 kb mouse alpha 1(X) collagen gene, 0.86 kb of promoter and 1.25 kb of 3′-flanking sequences were isolated from two genomic libraries and characterized by nucleotide sequencing. Typical features of the gene include a unique three-exon structure, similar to that in the chick gene, with the entire triple-helical domain of 463 amino acids coded by a single large exon. The highest degree of amino acid and nucleotide sequence conservation was seen in the coding region for the collagenous and C-terminal non-collagenous domains between the mouse and known chick, bovine and human collagen type X sequences. More divergence between the sequences occurred in the N-terminal non-collagenous domain. Similarity between the mammalian collagen X sequences extended into the 3′-untranslated sequence, particularly near the polyadenylation site. The promoter of the mouse collagen X gene was found to contain two TATAA boxes 159 bp apart; primer extension analyses of the transcription start site revealed that both were functional. The promoter has an unusual structure with a very low G + C content of 28% between positions -220 and -1 of the upstream transcription start site. Northern and in situ hybridization analyses confirmed that the expression of the alpha 1(X) collagen gene is restricted to hypertrophic chondrocytes in tissues undergoing endochondral calcification. The detailed sequence information of the gene is useful for studies on the promoter activity of the gene and for generation of transgenic mice.

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