Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) is a regulatory neuropeptide/neurotransmitter of 28 amino acids involved in a wide variety of physiological functions. Using synthetic oligodeoxynucleotide probes related to the rat VIP-cDNA, we have isolated and characterized the gene encoding the rat pre-proVIP/PHI-27 and compared it to the human VIP gene. The rat VIP gene spanned 7400 base pairs, and contained 7 exons interrupted by 6 introns. 100% identity was found between the gene exons and the cDNA sequence. Differences in sizes of introns 2, 4 and 5 (shorter in the rat gene) are the reason for the shorter rat gene compared with the human gene of 8837 base pairs. Comparison of the genes in the two species showed a high homology in the exon sequences, 80-90% in exons 2, 4, 5, 6 and 30-50% in exons 1 and 7. In addition, the exon-intron junctions shared high identity between the genes. The rat untranslated exon 1 had little homology (30%) with human exon 1 and was 13 base pairs shorter. Interestingly, the 160 base pairs at the 5′-flanking region upstream of the cap-site share more than 75% identity between the two genes, including the exact position of TATA-boxes in positions -28, -145, -155, a cAMP-responsive element in position -80 and a CAAT sequence in position -127. The conservation of the 5′-flanking region of the VIP gene in parallel with the conservation of its coding exons emphasize the importance of these sequences during evolution.
- 5′-Flanking region
- Human VIP gene
- Rat VIP gene
- λ-Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide