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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1988 Apr;56(3):255-61.

Peptide mapping on Northern blot analyses of insulin receptors in brain and adipocytes.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


Previous studies have demonstrated differences in the size of insulin receptor subunits in brain and adipocytes that appear to involve variations in glycosylation of the proteins. In this report, we examined the degree of homology in the protein backbones of insulin receptors in both tissues by peptide mapping and compared the mRNAs encoding the receptors by Northern blot analysis. Photoaffinity-labeled insulin receptors from rat brain and adipocytes were deglycosylated and then subjected to partial proteolysis by five different enzymes with differing substrate specificities. The intact receptors and their proteolytic fragments were analyzed by electrophoresis and autoradiography. Each enzyme yielded a unique pattern of fragments ranging from 70 to 11 kDa. In all cases, there was a striking similarity in the peptide maps generated from insulin receptors in brain and adipocytes. Northern hybridization experiments were carried out using poly(A)+ RNA from rat brain, rat adipocytes, and human hepatocarcinoma (HEP G2) cells. In rat brain, two bands of 9.5 and 7.4 kb were detected and, in rat adipocytes, the same two bands were observed. The two mRNA bands observed in rat tissues represented only two of the five mRNA species seen in human HEP G2 cells. The results indicate that the protein domains and the mRNAs encoding of insulin receptors in brain and adipocytes are very similar, if not identical.

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