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J. S. Fleming, P. J. Greenwood, and C.-L. C. Chen


Clusterin or sulphated glycoprotein-2 is a major component of the rete testis fluid, synthesized by the rete testis epithelial cells and Sertoli cells. Differences in the two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis pattern of clusterin-like proteins have been reported in rete testis fluid from Booroola rams carrying the fecundity gene FecB, when compared with that from non-carrier rams. In order to determine whether the FecB gene influences the expression of the clusterin gene, we used a rat clusterin cRNA probe to investigate mRNA species in the tissues of homozygous (BB) or non-carrier (+ +) Booroola sheep. Northern blots of polyadenylated RNA showed hybridization to the cRNA probe in the testis, ovarian follicles, corpora lutea and stroma, pituitary and liver. A major mRNA transcript was observed at 2·3 kb and a minor transcript in some tissues at 0·8 kb. Densitometry of the autoradiographs revealed no FecB-specific differences in the densities of the hybridization signals from + + and BB testis or ovarian follicle, corpora lutea or stromal RNA. We conclude that the gene for ovine clusterin is expressed widely in the tissues of sheep and that its expression is not affected by the presence of the FecB gene.

Open access

Eugenia Mata-Greenwood, P Naomi Jackson, William J Pearce, and Lubo Zhang

We have previously shown that in vitro sensitivity to dexamethasone (DEX) stimulation in human endothelial cells is positively regulated by the glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1, GR). The present study determined the role of differential GR transcriptional regulation in glucocorticoid sensitivity. We studied 25 human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) that had been previously characterized as DEX-sensitive (n=15), or resistant (n=10). Real-time PCR analysis of GR 5′UTR mRNA isoforms showed that all HUVECs expressed isoforms 1B, 1C, 1D, 1F, and 1H, and isoforms 1B and 1C were predominantly expressed. DEX-resistant cells expressed higher basal levels of the 5′UTR mRNA isoforms 1C and 1D, but lower levels of the 5′UTR mRNA isoform 1F than DEX-sensitive cells. DEX treatment significantly decreased GRα and GR-1C mRNA isoform expression in DEX-resistant cells only. Reporter luciferase assays indicated that differential GR mRNA isoform expression was not due to differential promoter usage between DEX-sensitive and DEX-resistant cells. Analysis of promoter methylation, however, showed that DEX-sensitive cells have higher methylation levels of promoter 1D and lower methylation levels of promoter 1F than DEX-resistant cells. Treatment with 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine abolished the differential 5′UTR mRNA isoform expression between DEX-sensitive and DEX-resistant cells. Finally, both GRα overexpression and 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine treatment eliminated the differences between sensitivity groups to DEX-mediated downregulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS3), and upregulation of plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (SERPINE1). In sum, human endothelial GR 5′UTR mRNA expression is regulated by promoter methylation with DEX-sensitive and DEX-resistant cells having different GR promoter methylation patterns.

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G. W. Montgomery, J. A. Sise, P. J. Greenwood, and J. S. Fleming


A cDNA probe for the β subunit of bovine FSH (FSH-β) detects multiple restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) in sheep genomic DNA consistent with an insertion/deletion polymorphism around the FSH-β locus. The presence of the insertion/deletion was confirmed by screening over 100 individuals with two restriction enzymes detecting RFLPs. All individuals showed the same patterns of fragments with both enzymes. A partial restriction map of the FSH-β gene in sheep suggests that the insertion/deletion is approximately 2 kb in size and located downstream from the third exon. Individual DNA samples were analysed from two flocks where the Booroola F gene is known to be segregating. Individuals that were heterozygous for the F gene were shown to be homozygous for one or other of the two alleles. Genetic recombination between the FSH-β locus and the F gene was observed in four pedigrees and there was no evidence that the insertion/deletion is closely linked genetically to the Booroola F gene. A major gene transcript of 2·2–2·3 kb was detected on Northern blots of sheep RNA. Neither the insertion/deletion polymorphism nor the presence of the F gene appeared to influence the size of the FSH-β gene transcript.

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J. S. Fleming, D. J. Tisdall, P. J. Greenwood, N. L. Hudson, D. A. Heath, and K. P. McNatty


Ovine cDNA probes for the α and βA inhibin subunits and for follistatin were used to investigate the mRNA species for these hormones in ovaries obtained during the luteal phase of the oestrous cycle, from Booroola ewes which were homozygous carriers (BB) or non-carriers (++) of the FecB gene. BB ewes had significantly higher concentrations of peripheral FSH and LH immunoreactivity than ++ ewes, but the peripheral inhibin immunoreactivity and ovarian inhibin and progesterone secretion rates were not significantly different between genotypes. No gene-specific differences in the number or size of mRNA transcripts detected by Northern blotting were noted for any of these genes. A single α inhibin mRNA species at 1.5 kb was observed in the follicle RNA from ++ and BB ovaries. Low amounts of α inhibin hybridization were discerned occasionally in + + and BB stroma and also in BB, but not in ++, corpora lutea. The βA inhibin gene was expressed only in the follicles from both ++ and BB ovaries. At least three βA inhibin transcripts were observed; one at 7.5kb and at least two between 1.4 and 5.0kb. The follistatin cDNA probe detected two major transcripts at 2.7 and 1.5 kb and a minor band at 0.5 kb in both follicle and corpora lutea RNA. Densitometry of the Northern blots revealed no significant gene-specific differences in the levels of α inhibin and follistatin gene mRNA transcripts. However, significantly greater amounts of total βA inhibin hybridization were detected in follicle RNA from BB compared with ++ ovaries (P<0.001) and this FecB-specific difference appeared to be associated with the 7.5 kb transcript. We conclude that the Booroola FecB gene does not influence the synthesis of the α inhibin subunit or follistatin during the luteal phase of the oestrous cycle, but may affect inhibin or activin synthesis in the ovaries of FecB carriers, by increasing the transcription or stability of the βA inhibin mRNA species.