Endomorphins are neuropeptides that bind strongly to μ-opioid receptors and are considered to play important roles in pain modulation and other biological functions. Two endomorphins have been identified, to date, endomorphine-1 and -2; both are tetrapeptides and differ by only a single amino acid in the third position. Both peptides were isolated from bovine brains; however, their precursor genes have not been identified. In this study, a nucleotide sequence corresponding to the endomorphin-1 peptide in an expressed sequence tag database has been found and a preproendomorphin-like precursor peptide from human brain complementary DNA (cDNA) has been cloned. The cDNA consists of nucleotide sequences of two already annotated predicted genes, and the putative peptide differs by one amino acid from the isolated endomorphin peptides. It is proposed herein that there is the possibility of unknown short proteins or peptide precursors being missed by automated gene prediction programs based on similarities of known protein sequences. A novel concept of how to produce endomorphins from a similar peptide is described. The oxidatively modified base might provide a clue for understanding discrepancies between nucleotide sequences on the genome and those on cDNAs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Organic Chemistry