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T Monden, M Yamada, S Konaka, T Satoh, H Ezawa, T Iwasaki and M Mori


To gain insight into the mechanism underlying the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced changes in responsiveness to TRH and in the numbers of TRH receptors (TRH-Rs) in the pituitary, we investigated the transcriptional regulation by EGF of the TRH-R gene in GH4C1 cells. Northern blot analyses and binding studies revealed that EGF reduced both TRH binding and TRH-R mRNA levels in a dose- and time-dependent manner, while no significant changes were observed in β-actin mRNA levels. Addition of actinomycin D caused an acute increase in the basal TRH-R mRNA level, and the rate of decrease of the TRH-R mRNA was identical in control and EGF-treated groups, suggesting that the stability of the TRH-R mRNA was not significantly affected in EGF-treated cells. Incubation with cycloheximide also induced an increase in the basal TRH-R mRNA level and completely reversed the EGF-induced reduction of TRH-R mRNA levels. Furthermore, a nuclear run-on assay demonstrated that the rate of transcription of the TRH-R gene was significantly inhibited in cells treated with EGF. We conclude that (1) EGF decreases the expression of the TRH-R mRNA largely by reducing its rate of transcription, and this action requires the synthesis of new proteins, and (2) inhibitors of protein and RNA synthesis cause a significant increase in the basal TRH-R mRNA level, suggesting that there may be a short-lived protein suppressing the TRH-R mRNA level in the pituitary.

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M Tanaka, M Suzuki, T Kawana, M Segawa, M Yoshikawa, M Mori, M Kobayashi, N Nakai and T R Saito

In addition to the known four alternative first exons E11, E12, E13 and E14 of the rat prolactin receptor (PRL-R) gene, a novel first exon, E15, was identified by cDNA cloning of the 5′-end region of PRL-R mRNA in the rat liver. Genomic fragments containing E15 and its 5′- or 3′-flanking regions were also cloned from rat kidney genomic DNA. A sequence search for E15 revealed that E15 is located 49 kb upstream of exon 2 of the PRL-R gene in rat chromosome 2q16. RT-PCR analysis revealed that E15 was preferentially expressed in the liver, brain and kidney. Expression profiles of E12-, E13- and E15-PRL-R mRNAs in the liver of male and female rats at 5 days of age and those at 8 weeks of age were examined by RT-PCR. The levels of E12-PRL-R mRNA in the female rat increased remarkably in rats at 8 weeks of age compared with those at 5 days of age, and the levels of E15-PRL-R mRNA in the male rat decreased markedly at 8 weeks of age compared with those at 5 days of age. In the female rat, the levels of E12-PRL-R mRNA at 8 weeks of age decreased with ovariectomy performed at 4 weeks of age and recovered with the administration of β-oestradiol. On the contrary, the levels of E15-PRL-R mRNA increased with ovariectomy and decreased with the oestrogen treatment. In the male rat liver, the levels of E12-PRL-R mRNA at 8 weeks of age increased strikingly with castration performed at 4 weeks of age and became undetectable with the administration of testosterone. The levels of E15-PRL-R mRNA increased slightly with castration and were restored by testosterone treatment. Removal of gonadal tissues and sex steroid hormone treatment had no effect on the expression levels of E13-PRL-R mRNA in both female and male rat livers. These results indicated that the expression of the PRL-R gene in the liver is regulated by the differential effects of sex steroid hormones on the transcription of the multiple first exons including the novel one.

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Y Kato, I Sato, T Ihara, K Tomizawa, J Mori, M Geshi, T Nagai, K Okuda, T Kato and S Ueda

Biologically active recombinant porcine FSH (rec-pFSH) free from the cognate pituitary glycoprotein hormone LH was produced. It was synthesized by a baculovirus vector-insect cell system using two cDNAs encoding the glycoprotein alpha and FSH beta subunits. Its antigenicity was the same as that of pFSH prepared from the pituitary. Glycosylation of rec-pFSH was shown by tunicamycin treatment but the molecular mass of each subunit was lower than that of pituitary-derived FSH, because of the absence of trimming of terminal sugars in insect cells. Rec-pFSH was secreted into the culture medium at about 1 mg/l and purified in six fractions, because of the heterogeneity of the sugar group, by S-Sepharose and concanavalin A-Sepharose column chromatography. The biological activity of rec-pFSH was examined by measuring its effect on progesterone secretion from porcine granulosa cells and germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) of porcine oocytes. It showed adequate activity with respect to progesterone secretion, although some fractions rich in the sugar group showed lower activity than that of pituitary-derived FSH. It exhibited higher GVBD activity than that of pituitary-derived FSH at concentrations as low as 1 ng/ml. These results demonstrate that the baculovirus vector-insect cell system can provide biologically active rec-pFSH.

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M Nakamura, S Morimoto, Q Yang, T Hisamatsu, N Hanai, Y Nakamura, I Mori and K Kakudo

Receptor activity modifying proteins (RAMPs) act as receptor modulators that determine the ligand specificity of receptors for the calcitonin (CT) family. The purpose of this study was to analyze the expression of RAMPs in osteoclast-like cells using the laser capture microdissection (LCM) technique. Mouse bone marrow and spleen cells were co-cultured on a film designed for LCM. After 10 days, 250 osteoclast-like cells were captured using the LCM system. Total RNA from these cells was used to synthesize cDNA and RT-PCR analysis was performed. Osteoclast-like cells expressed CT receptor (CTR), CT receptor-like receptor (CRLR) and RAMP2, but did not express RAMP1 or RAMP3. These results indicated (1) that a pure population of osteoclast-like cells can be prepared by LCM and gene expression of this population can be analyzed by RT-PCR and (2) that RT-PCR shows that osteoclast-like cells express RAMP2, CTR and CRLR, suggesting the potential for adrenomedullin binding to osteoclast-like cells. This is the first report that osteoclast-like cells express RAMP2.