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M Saleh, S Garcia, J E Mercer, and J K Findlay


Seven bovine follistatin (FS) cDNA clones were isolated from a bovine ovarian follicle cDNA library. The predicted amino acid sequences revealed that six of the cDNA clones represented an FS precursor of 344 amino acids which corresponded to a mature FS of 315 amino acids (FS 315), with one cDNA clone containing the entire coding sequence including 180 nucleotides of 5′ untranslated sequence. The predicted amino acid sequence of the seventh cDNA clone, which differed in the 3′ coding sequence, represented a precursor protein of 317 amino acids, corresponding to a mature FS of 288 amino acids (FS 288). This clone encoded an identical amino acid sequence to the other six cDNA clones except that the C terminal of FS 315 was truncated by 27 amino acids. The sequence of bovine FS was found to contain 36 cysteine residues and 2 potential N-linked glycosylation sites. The predicted amino acid sequence of bovine FS has overall sequence homologies of 98% with ovine FS and 97% with human FS.

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I. C. McMillen, J. E. Mercer, and G. D. Thorburn


In order to clarify the corticotrophic capacity of the fetal sheep anterior pituitary in late gestation, we have measured the relative levels of messenger RNA for the ACTH precursor molecule proopiomelanocortin (POMC) in individual fetal sheep anterior pituitaries collected between 100 and 144 days of gestation. The mean relative POMC mRNA:poly(A)+ RNA ratio of the pituitary glands collected between 100 and 135 days (1·35 ± 0·15) was significantly greater than the mean relative POMC mRNA:poly(A)+ RNA ratio of the pituitaries collected between 141 and 144 days (0·81 ± 0·09). Northern blot analysis showed that a single band of RNA hybridized with the human POMC cDNA probe in adult and fetal sheep pituitaries.

Our results do not contradict the hypothesis that an increase in basal ACTH concentrations after 140 days of gestation could reflect a change in the post-translational processing of POMC in the fetal sheep anterior pituitary.