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J Cell Biol. 1986 November 1; 103(5): 1635–1648.
PMCID: PMC2114380

The structure of human thrombospondin, an adhesive glycoprotein with multiple calcium-binding sites and homologies with several different proteins


Thrombospondin is one of a class of adhesive glycoproteins that mediate cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix interactions. We have used two monoclonal antibodies to isolate cDNA clones of thrombospondin from a human endothelial cell cDNA library and have determined the complete nucleotide sequence of the coding region. Three regions of known amino acid sequence of human platelet thrombospondin confirm that the clones are authentic. Three types of repeating amino acid sequence are present in thrombospondin. The first is 57 amino acids long and shows homology with circumsporozoite protein from Plasmodium falciparum. The second is 50-60 amino acids long and shows homology with epidermal growth factor precursor. The third occurs as a continuous eightfold repeat of a 38- residue sequence; structural homology with parvalbumin and calmodulin indicates that these repeats constitute the multiple calcium-binding sites of thrombospondin. The amino acid sequence arg-gly-asp-ala is included in the last type 3 repeat. This sequence is probably the site for the association of thrombospondin with cells. In addition, localized homologies with procollagen, fibronectin, and von Willebrand factor are present in one region of the thrombospondin molecule.

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