Cloning and expression of bovine corneal antigen cDNA

John D. Gottsch, Sammy H. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose. A cornea-associated antigen (CO-Ag) has been found to be the target for autoantibodies in patients with Mooren's ulcer. The study goals were to isolate a full-length clone encoding CO-Ag from a bovine corneal cDNA library and to express this clone in Escherichia coli (E. coli). Methods. A DNA fragment of CO-Ag was generated, using unique oligonucleotide primers and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. This fragment was used as a probe to obtain cDNA clones from a bovine corneal cDNA library. The clone with the longest cDNA insert was selected for sequence analysis. Expression of the CO-Ag protein in E. coli was induced by isopropyl β-D-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG). The bacterially-produced CO-Ag was partially purified by calcium (Ca2+)-dependent hydrophobic interaction chromatography. Results. The cDNA insert sequence was 273 nucleotides in length for the entire mRNA coding region, 212 nucleotides in the 5' untranslated region, 83 nucleotides in the 3' untranslated region and a poly(A) tail. The DNA base sequence of this clone also contained a standard initiation codon, termination codon, and the polyadenylation signal. This cDNA predicts a protein which contains 91 amino acids with a molecular weight of 10,584 daltons. The cDNA and deduced amino acid sequence of CO-Ag are completely identical to a S-100 protein, bovine calgranulin C. The cDNA was expressed in E. coli as a fusion protein consisting of 583 N-terminal amino acids of β-galactosidase (β-gal), 91 amino acids of CO-Ag, and possibly a number of additional N-terminal and C-terminal residues. The bacterially produced CO-Ag was fully functional with respect to hydrophobic interaction with phenyl-Sepharose matrix for its isolation. The fusion protein was recognized by antiserum raised against bovine CO-Ag protein on Western blots. Conclusions. The isolation and analysis of a cDNA clone containing the complete coding sequence of the CO-Ag protein and the expression of the CO-Ag protein in E. coli is reported. The availability of a Co-Ag cDNA probe and larger quantities of the CO-Ag protein should aid in elucidating the possible pathogenic role of CO-Ag in Mooren's ulcer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1244
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1997


  • Bovine (cattle)
  • Calcium binding protein
  • Calgranulin C
  • Corneal antigen
  • Expression
  • Molecular cloning
  • Mooren's ulcer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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