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Endocrinology. 1999 Jun;140(6):2771-80.

Bovine thrombospondin-2: complete complementary deoxyribonucleic acid sequence and immunolocalization in the external zones of the adrenal cortex.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U-244, Département de Biologie Moléculaire et Structurale, CEA/Grenoble, France.


Given the variety of biological functions in the adrenal cortex that are controlled by ACTH, we hypothesized that some extracellular proteins act as biological relays for this systemic hormone. One candidate protein [corticotropin-induced secreted protein (CISP)] was purified from the conditioned medium of bovine adrenocortical cells on the basis of a 5- to 14-fold increase in its synthesis after the addition of ACTH. We report here the cloning of overlapping complementary DNAs that span the sequence encoding the full-length protein (1170 amino acids). The deduced CISP protein sequence is 89% identical to that of human thrombospondin-2 (TSP2), but only 61% identical to that of bovine TSP1, confirming that CISP is the bovine ortholog of TSP2. The bovine TSP2 sequence aligned perfectly with human, mouse, and chicken TSP2 sequences, except for a gap of 2 amino acids located in a linker region. All 58 cysteine residues that are conserved in other species were present in the bovine sequence as well as most of the functional domains. Most endocrine tissues (adrenal cortex, testis, ovary, and placenta) appeared to express TSP2, as determined by Western blot analysis. The highest levels of TSP2 protein were found in the adrenal cortex, followed by the heart, spleen, brain, and kidney. A differential extent of N-glycosylation or tissular proteolytic maturation may be responsible for the mol wt differences observed between bovine TSP2 detected in the medium from primary cultures and that in fresh tissue extracts. The immunohistochemical analysis of the distribution of TSP2 in the bovine adrenal gland revealed that the protein is much more abundant in the external zones (zona glomerulosa and zona fasciculata) than in the internal reticularis zone, a pattern similar to that reported for ACTH receptors. This distribution clearly suggests that TSP2 is a candidate relay protein for a subset of ACTH actions in the adrenal cortex.

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