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Endocrinology. 2001 Nov;142(11):4918-29.

Mouse testicular Leydig cells express Klk21, a tissue kallikrein that cleaves fibronectin and IGF-binding protein-3.

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Division of Biological Sciences, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Science, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan.


We have cloned a type of cDNA for a functional glandular kallikrein, designated as mouse Klk21 (mKlk21), from the adult mouse testis cDNA library. mKlk21 was expressed in the kidney, submaxillary glands, and testis of the mouse. In the testis, mKlk21 mRNA was detectable at 4 wk of postnatal development and became more prominent thereafter. The mKlk21 gene was expressed exclusively in the Leydig cells of adult mice. When Leydig cells isolated from 2-wk-old mouse testis were cultured in the presence of T, mKlk21 expression was induced significantly. Active recombinant mKlk21 showed trypsin-like specificity, favorably cleaving Arg-X bonds of synthetic peptide substrates. The enzyme activity was strongly inhibited with typical serine protease inhibitors. mKlk21 hydrolyzed casein, gelatin, fibronectin, and IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3). As in mKlk21, IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were expressed in the Leydig cells of the adult mouse testis, although the transcript of IGFBP-3 was not detected in all of the observed cells. The culture medium of Leydig cells isolated from adult mouse testes contained an mKlk21-like enzyme activity capable of degrading IGFBP-3. These results suggest that mKlk21 plays a role in Leydig cell function in the adult mouse testis.

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