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D Johnson, R Al-Shawi, and J O Bishop

ABSTRACT

A number of structurally very similar pheromone-binding proteins (major urinary proteins; MUPs) are synthesized in mouse liver and rapidly excreted in the urine. Male and female inbred mice display different characteristic patterns of MUP expression. Here we present a detailed study of the RNA and protein products corresponding to specific MUP genes previously isolated from genomic DNA of the Balb/c strain. By in vitro transcription of equivalent cDNA clones, translation of the resulting RNA in the reticulocyte lysate system and isoelectric focusing, the protein products of genes BL1, BS1 and BS6 were shown to be MUP 2a, MUP 2b and MUP 4 respectively. MUPs 2a and 2b were shown to be abundant both in Balb/c male urine and among the translation products of total Balb/c male liver mRNA. Two oligodeoxynucleotide probes, oBL1A and oBS1, selective for BL1 and BS1 mRNA respectively, were chemically synthesized. mRNA that hybridized with these probes (oBL1A mRNA and oBS1 mRNA) was present at different characteristic levels in the Balb/c and C57BL/6 inbred strains. In both strains the level of expression was much higher in males than females and the male/female expression ratio of oBS1 RNA was higher than that of oBL1A RNA. Comparison of these mRNA levels with the amounts of different MUP proteins present in urine and the translation products of liver mRNA indicated that proteins other than MUP 2a and MUP 2b are coded for by the C57BL/6 oBL1A and oBS1 mRNAs.

C57BL/6 mice homozygous for the lit mutation are GH deficient and transcribe MUP genes at a level much lower than that obtaining in normal mice of either sex, indicating that transcription is induced by GH in both males and females. When lit/lit mice were treated with GH under two different regimes, MUP gene transcription was partially induced to different degrees and the level of oBL1A mRNA was induced more highly than that of oBS1 mRNA. Thus there exists a correlation between the inducibility of these mRNAs and their level of expression in females relative to males; oBL1A mRNA is both more highly expressed in females and more readily induced by GH than oBS1 mRNA. This suggests that the male and female expression patterns are due to differential inducibility of different MUP genes together with a stronger inducing stimulus in males. GH administered continuously by infusion repressed MUP gene expression. We interpret this to mean that induction is due to intermittent GH stimulation in both sexes and that the longer interpulse interval reported to occur in males leads to more effective induction than the shorter interpulse interval observed in females.

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D Johnson, S Harrison, N Pineda, C Heinlein, R Al-Shawi, and J O Bishop

ABSTRACT

Three regions required for the expression of a mouse major urinary protein (MUP) transgene were identified by a deletion analysis. One of these was located upstream of the cap site between −2139 and −1800, another was the proximal promoter region downstream of −324 and the third lay within the 338 nucleotide intron 1. Both the proximal promoter and intron 1 are involved in sexually dimorphic expression of the transgene (male/female ratio 20), which is dictated by the different temporal profiles of circulating GH in the two sexes. The data also indicated that the region between exons 3 and 7 may contribute to full expression in males and that a region between −718 and −324 may contribute towards the low expression level that obtains in females, but compared with the three principal regions the effects of these regions are relatively minor. We propose (1) that full expression of the transgene requires the co-operation of transcription factors binding to the three principal regions and (2) that the difference in expression between the sexes relates to interactions between transcription factors bound to the proximal promoter and to sites in intron 1. Our results complement earlier in vitro footprinting and gel-retardation studies of the homologous rat α2u-globulin genes. These identified a number of response elements, including putative C/EBP and AP1 sites in the proximal promoter and intron 1 respectively and three putative ΨNF-1 sites, two in the proximal promoter and one in intron 1, but proof of the functionality of these sites in regulating transcription was lacking. The proximal promoter also contained a 34 nucleotide sequence that has 70% identity with the SPI GH response element.

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C Goddard, R Johnson, H J Gilhooley, J O Gardner, A Gray, R S Wilkie, and S C Butterwith

ABSTRACT

The increase in muscle weight in neonatal animals is a consequence of increased protein accretion and DNA content. GH increases protein accretion but direct effects of GH on myogenic cell proliferation have not been demonstrated. Sex-linked dwarfism in the chick is caused by mutation or deletion in the GH receptor gene and has provided a useful model to study the physiological consequences of GH insensitivity. This study determined the consequences of GH receptor gene mutation on muscle cell proliferation in vivo. Northern and Southern blotting and PCR analysis revealed restriction fragment length polymorphism patterns and a 1·7kb deletion of the intracellular domain of the GH receptor gene in commercial dwarf broiler chicks, similar to the Connecticut strain in which there is a dysfunctional GH receptor. Cell proliferation was measured in muscle sections from normal and dwarf chicks after incorporation of 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU; 25 mg/kg) in vivo at 2, 5 and 13 days of age. Incorporation of BrdU into nuclei was measured in frozen sections, counterstained with propidium iodide to estimate the total number of nuclei by quantitative image analysis, and the labelling index was calculated. Paraffin-embedded sections of breast muscle were stained using an anti-human IGF-I polyclonal antibody. Expression of IGF-I mRNA in muscle from each genotype at 5 days of age was measured by RNAse protection assay.

The labelling index was similar in 2-day-old chicks from both genotypes (normal, 20·14 ± 2·39%; dwarf, 19·79 ± 5·83%). By day 5 the labelling index had decreased but was significantly higher (P<0·02) in normal (12·53 ± 3·36%) compared with the dwarf (6·25 ± 1·39%). By 13 days of age, there was a further decrease in labelling index but no difference between the groups (normal, 4·92 ± 1·28%; dwarf, 4·96 ± 1·51%). IGF-I mRNA was expressed and IGF-I peptide was identified in muscle sections but there was no difference between genotypes. The results show that cell division in breast muscle in vivo is high in neonatal chicks but it declines with increasing age. The absence of a functional GH receptor in the dwarf is associated with a greater decline in DNA synthesis and suggests that GH may directly affect a proportion of cells, since there was no difference in IGF-I mRNA or peptide.

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E. R. Weiss, R. A. Heller-Harrison, E. Diez, M. Crasnier, C. C. Malbon, and G. L. Johnson

ABSTRACT

The cDNA encoding bovine opsin was transfected into Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells to generate stable clones expressing the rod cell photoreceptor protein. Cells expressing opsin, when incubated in 11-cis retinal and exposed to light, inhibited forskolin-stimulated adenylyl cyclase activity. Rhodopsin-mediated inhibition of adenylyl cyclase was prevented by treatment of cells with pertussis toxin. In the same cells, thrombin stimulated phosphatidylinositol hydrolysis through G protein-mediated pathways, but rhodopsin neither significantly influenced the action of thrombin nor stimulated phosphatidylinositol hydrolysis. Our findings indicate that rhodopsin selectively regulates a Gi protein in intact CHO cells that is coupled to adenylyl cyclase but not to phospholipase C.

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Jessica K Devin, Joyce E Johnson, Mesut Eren, Linda A Gleaves, William S Bradham, John R Bloodworth Jr, and Douglas E Vaughan

Reproductive age women (5–10%) are affected by the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a diagnosis which confers lifelong cardiovascular and reproductive health implications. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), the main physiological inhibitor of plasminogen activation, is consistently elevated in women with PCOS, regardless of metabolic status. Interestingly, the plasminogen system has long been implicated in proteolytic processes within the dynamic ovary. A non-physiologic elevation in PAI-1 may thus contribute systemically to endothelial dysfunction and locally to abnormal ovarian phenotype and function. We herein characterize the phenotypic alterations in ovaries from transgenic mice, which constitutively express a stable form of human PAI-1 and determine the plasma testosterone level in these mice as opposed to their unaffected counterparts. Over half of the ovaries from transgenic mice were found to contain large cystic structures, in contrast to wild-type controls of the same genetic background (53% (N = 17) vs 5% (N = 22); P = 0.001). Plasma testosterone was nearly twofold elevated in transgenic female mice versus wild-type females (0.312 ng/ml ± 0.154 (N = 10) vs 0.181 ng/ml ± 0.083 (N = 8); P = 0.014). An elevation in PAI-1 therefore appears to predispose mice to the development of this abnormal architecture, which in turn is associated with an increase in plasma testosterone. Therefore, we propose that an inappropriate elevation in PAI-1 contributes to the development of polycystic structures; these findings may thus reorient the efforts aimed at the development of therapeutic agents for the treatment of this increasingly common syndrome.