Splice junctions: association with variation in protein structure

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Science  10 Jun 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4602, pp. 1125-1129
DOI: 10.1126/science.6344214


A comparison between eukaryotic gene sequences and protein sequences of homologous enzymes from bacterial and mammalian organisms shows that intron-exon junctions frequently coincide with variable surface loops of the protein structures. The altered surface structures can account for functional differences among the members of a family. Sliding of the intron-exon junctions may constitute one mechanism for generating length polymorphisms and divergent sequences found in protein families. Since intron-exon junctions map to protein surfaces, the alterations mediated by sliding of these junctions can be effected without disrupting the stability of the protein core.