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M. Yamamoto, T. Harigaya, T. Ichikawa, K. Hoshino, and K. Nakashima


Transformation of Escherichia coli cells with a recombinant plasmid containing modified mouse prolactin (mPRL) cDNA and a pKK223-3 vector resulted in efficient expression of mPRL protein. Cloned mPRL cDNA was modified by removing the 5′ non-translating sequence as well as the sequence which encoded the signal peptide of preprolactin for recombination. In addition, approximately 100 nucleotides of the 5′-terminal region of the cDNA, which include the ATG initiation codon and the following 31 codons of mature mPRL, were replaced by a chemically synthesized oligonucleotide duplex. The sequence of this duplex was chosen to be rich in AT without changing the amino acid sequence of the protein. The modified cDNA was finally inserted into the multicopy plasmid, pUC19, before high-level expression of mPRL in E. coli cells was obtained. Western blotting analysis of total protein from transformed E. coli cells showed that both 23 and 16kDa peptides were recognized by specific mPRL antisera. The purified and refolded 23 kDa protein exhibited a growth-stimulating effect on rat Nb 2 Node lymphoma cells, and was very similar to that of natural pituitary PRL.

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T Ichikawa, K Horie-Inoue, K Ikeda, B Blumberg, and S Inoue


Vitamin K is known as a critical nutrient required for bone homeostasis and blood coagulation, and it is clinically used as a therapeutic agent for osteoporosis in Japan. Besides its enzymatic action as a cofactor of vitamin K-dependent γ-glutamyl carboxylase (GGCX), we have previously shown that vitamin K2 is a transcriptional regulator of bone marker genes and extracellular matrix-related genes, by activating the steroid and xenobiotic receptor (SXR). To explore a novel action of vitamin K in osteoblastic cells, we identified genes up-regulated by a vitamin K2 isoform menaquinone-4 (MK-4) using oligonucleotide microarray analysis. Among these up-regulated genes by MK-4, growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) and stanniocalcin 2 (STC2) were identified as novel MK-4 target genes independent of GGCX and SXR pathways in human and mouse osteoblastic cells. The induction of GDF15 and STC2 is likely specific to MK-4, as it was not exerted by another vitamin K2 isoform MK-7, vitamin K1, or the MK-4 side chain structure geranylgeraniol. Investigation of the involved signaling pathways revealed that MK-4 enhanced the phosphorylation of protein kinase A (PKA), and the MK-4-dependent induction of both GDF15 and STC2 genes was reduced by the treatment with a PKA inhibitor H89 or siRNA against PKA. These results suggest that vitamin K2 modulates its target gene expression in osteoblastic cells through the PKA-dependent mechanism, which may be distinct from the previously known vitamin K signaling pathways.

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K. Ichikawa, K. Hashizume, Y. Nishii, T. Takeda, M. Kobayashi, S. Suzuki, and T. Yamada


Human thyroid hormone receptor (c-erb A protein) produced by Escherichia coli expression vector plasmid was purified sequentially using polyethylenimine precipitation of DNA, hydroxylapatite column chromatography, ammonium sulphate precipitation, Sephacryl S-300 gel filtration and mono Q-Sepharose column chromatography. These column procedures resulted in 41.3-fold purification of 3,5,3′-tri-iodo-l-thyronine (T3) binding activity over the initial E. coli extract. Purified protein as well as crude preparation showed high-affinity binding to T3. The c-erb A protein enriched by column purification was further purified by electroelution after electrophoresis. Rabbit antibody against the c-erb A protein was prepared and used for the Western blotting analysis. The antibody recognized c-erb A protein but not the bacterial proteins in crude E. coli extract. When partially purified rat hepatic nuclear thyroid hormone receptor was analysed, a 56kDa receptor was specifically recognized by the antibody.