The collagens constitute a large family of extracellular matrix components primarily responsible for maintaining the structure and biological integrity of connective tissue. These proteins exhibit considerable diversity in size, sequence, tissue distribution, and molecular composition. Fourteen types of homo- and/or heterotrimeric molecules, thus far reported, are encoded by a minimum of 27 genes. Nineteen of these genes, including several that are closely linked, have been assigned to 10 separate autosomes, and one collagen gene has been mapped to the X chromosome. We have isolated a 2.1-kb human cDNA clone coding for a collagen molecule different in sequence and structure from types I-XIV collagens. This polypeptide has been designated the α1 chain of type XV collagen. To determine the location of the corresponding gene, the cDNA clone was hybridized to rodent-human hybrid DNAs and to human metaphase chromosomes. The results obtained using the hybrid cell lines showed that this newly identified collagen gene, COL15A1, is present in the pter → q34 region of chromosome 9. In situ hybridization allowed sublocalization to 9q21 → q22, a region to which no other collagen genes had previously been assigned. Our data further demonstrate the complex arrangement of the many collagen genes in the human genome.
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