A family of cellular proteins related to snake venom disintegrins
Disintegrins are short soluble integrin ligands that were initially identified in snake venom. A previously recognized cellular protein with a disintegrin domain was the guinea pig sperm protein PH-30, a protein implicated in sperm-egg membrane binding and fusion. Here we present peptide sequences that are characteristic for several cellular disintegrin-domain proteins. These peptide sequences were deduced from cDNA sequence tags that were generated by polymerase chain reaction from various mouse tissue and a mouse muscle cell line. Northern blot analysis with four sequence tags revealed distinct mRNA expression patterns. Evidently, cellular proteins containing a disintegrin domain define a superfamily of potential integrin ligands that are likely to function in important cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions.