The cystatin C gene (CST3) encodes a low-molecular-weight cysteine proteinase inhibitor belonging to family II of the cystatin super family and is mutated in cases of hereditary cystatin C amyloid angiopathy (HCCAA). CST3, which along with other family II cystatin genes is a member of the cystatin gene family, has been assigned to chromosome 20. To investigate the genomic organization on chromosome 20, the CST3 gene and related sequences were regionally mapped by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), Southern blot, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis using the cDNA cystatin C probe C6a and three genomic probes, C3E1, C3E2, and C3E2-2. Probe C3E2-2, which like probe C3E2 is specific for CST3, hybridized to only one Hind III and one XbaI fragment on Southern blots and to a 300-kb Bss HII PFGE fragment. FISH with probe C3E2 mapped this locus to chromosome 20p11.2, with an FL-pter value of 0.37 ± 0.07 on the physical map. Probe C3E1 containing the most conserved cystatin gene exon (exon 1) and its flanking sequences hybridized with more fragments, e.g., to eight Xba I and nine HindIII fragments on conventional Southern blots and to eight SmaI, two BssHII (900 and 300 kb), and two Not I fragments after PFGE. FISH with C3E1 revealed only one single site at 20p11.2 with an FL-pter value of 0.37 ± 0.04, identical to that obtained with C3E2. From these results it is concluded that (1) exon 1 and its flanking sequences are preferentially conserved within the cystatin gene family and that (2) CST3 and probably seven other members of the cystatin gene family are clustered within an at maximum 1.2-Mb segment on chromosome 20p11.2.
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