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D Brochard, L Morel, G Veyssiere, and C Jean

MSVSP99 (mouse seminal vesicle secretory protein of 99 amino acids) is a member of the rat and mouse seminal vesicle secretory protein family. The gene encoding MSVSP99 is under androgenic control and we demonstrate here that this regulation involves a complex interplay of positive and negative regions. First, we show that the promoter region (-387/+16) sufficient to mediate a full androgen induction is a complex enhancer organized in two regulatory regions. These two regions are inactive individually and must act together to confer a 40-fold androgen induction to the MSVSP99 gene and androgen responsiveness is not only dependent on the presence of functional androgen response element (ARE) sequences but results from complex cooperations between ARE and non-ARE sequences forming an androgen response unit. Secondly, we characterized a new regulatory region (-824/-632) that decreases androgen-dependent transcriptional activity of the MSVSP99 promoter. This region, also able to repress the transcriptional activity of the heterologous thymidine kinase promoter, contains a functional promoter on the inverted strand (-826 to -387) and we identified a transcription initiation site located at position -639 with respect to the cap site of the MSVSP99 promoter. Sequence analysis of the flanking DNA also revealed that the MSVSP99 gene is surrounded by long interspersed repeated sequences called LINEs.

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R. N. Clayton, L. Eccleston, F. Gossard, J.-C. Thalbard, and G. Morel


There is still debate as to whether natural sequence gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is produced in the mammalian gonads and concerning its potential role as a paracrine modulator of gonadal function. To address this question, we have used insitu hybridization histochemistry with an oligonucleotide probe complementary to the GnRH decapeptide coding sequence, to determine the cellular site(s) of expression of the GnRH gene in rodent ovaries. GnRH mRNA was detected in granulosa and thecal cells from ovarian follicles at all stages of development (primary→Graafian), with no significant change in grain density during follicular development. The granulosa cell compartment always contained more mRNA than the thecal cell compartment. Corpora lutea expressed the GnRH gene to the same extent as thecal cells. These results indicate that preproGnRH mRNA is detectable under physiological conditions in the mammalian ovary, though whether this produces authentic GnRH decapeptide or an alternative protein product is not known. The physiological significance of these findings remains to be determined.

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S Baron, M Manin, C Aigueperse, M Berger, C Jean, G Veyssiere, and L Morel

The akr1b7 gene encodes an aldose reductase-like protein that is responsible for detoxifying isocaproaldehyde generated by the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone. The regulation of gene expression by human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) was first investigated in the MA-10 Leydig tumor cell line. The akr1b7 gene was constitutively expressed and accumulation of its mRNA was increased in a dose- and time-dependent manner by treatment with hCG. akr1b7 mRNA accumulation was sharply increased in the presence of 0.25 nM hCG and it reached a fivefold increase within 2 h. AKR1B7 protein accumulation was delayed compared with that of the corresponding mRNA. In agreement, hCG significantly increased the levels of mRNA and protein of akr1b7 in primary cultures of adult mouse Leydig cells, thus suggesting that LH potentially regulates akr1b7 gene expression in vivo. Expression of akr1b7 was developmentally regulated in the testis. Unexpectedly, levels of akr1b7 mRNA increased from embryonic day 15 to the day of birth and declined until adulthood while AKR1B7 protein levels followed an inverse pattern, suggesting an important role for translational mechanisms.