We have isolated and examined the gene for the heart isoform of cytochrome c oxidase subunit VIIa (COX VIIa-H) in mouse, an isoform gene previously thought to be lacking in rodents. Interspecies amino acid comparisons indicate that mouse COX VIIa-H protein displays 82.5 and 70.9% identity with the bovine and human heart isoforms of COX VIIa, but only 53.7% identity with the paralogous mouse liver isoform (COX VIIa-L). Expression in adult mouse tissues is limited to heart and skeletal muscle, as found in other species. In the early mouse embryo, Cox7al was the exclusive isoform expressed and Cox7ah mRNA was not detectable until day 17 postcoitum. That the mouse Cox7ah gene characterized in this study is orthologous to the human COX7AH gene was also suggested by its mapping to mouse chromosome 7, to a conserved region syntenic with the human chromosome location of COX7AH, 19q13.1. As a result, all three COX heart isoform genes in mouse group to chromosome 7. Interestingly, mapping of the mouse Cox7al to chromosome 9 suggests a new syntenic region between the mouse and the human genomes.
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