Human ADP-ribosylation factors: A functionally conserved family of GTP-binding proteins

R. A. Kahn, F. G. Kern, J. Clark, E. P. Gelmann, C. Rulka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


A new member, hARF4, of the ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF) family, a subset of the superfamily of regulatory GTP-binding proteins, has been cloned from a cDNA expression library. Two other human ARF cDNA sequences, designated human ARF1 and ARF3, have been reported previously and are 96% identical in amino acid sequence. A human ARF1 cDNA, significantly longer than previously described clones, was obtained, by cross-species hybridization using a bovine ARF1 cDNA probe. Bovine ARF1p and human ARF1p are 100% identical while each is only 80% identical to hARF4p. Thus, hARF4p is the most divergent of the mammalian ARF proteins identified. Northern blot analysis revealed the expression of at least three different ARF messages in human placenta and adrenal carcinoma cells. Both hARF1 and hARF4 encode GTP-binding proteins with predicted molecular masses of 20,000-21,000 Da. Biochemical analysis of the purified recombinant proteins revealed a high degree of conservation of nucleotide binding properties and in vitro ARF activities. ARF is an essential gene in the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and is encoded by two genes. Expression of either hARF1p or hARF4p in yeast was found to rescue the lethal double mutant, arf1-arf2-, thus demonstrating the functional conservation of ARF functions between yeast and man. The combination of in vivo and in vitro assays for ARF function provides a specific and unambiguous means of determining bona fide ARF proteins from divergent species from among the rapidly increasing number of structurally related, small molecular weight GTP-binding proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2606-2614
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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