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Mol Reprod Dev. 2003 Jan;64(1):13-26.

HE6, a two-subunit heptahelical receptor associated with apical membranes of efferent and epididymal duct epithelia.

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IHF Institute for Hormone and Fertility Research at the University of Hamburg, Germany.


Human Epididymis-specific protein 6 [HE6 (GPR64)] is a highly conserved, tissue-specific seven-transmembrane receptor of the human epididymis. The rodent counterparts were cloned and 5'-inverse PCR employed to confirm that the cDNA sequences were full length. Downstream from the highly conserved signal peptide-coding sequence, the 5'-regions contained at least six mini-exons of less than 50 nucleotides. Multiple splice variants involving these mini-exons were cloned in the human, the majority of which was also found in rodents. Northern blot analysis showed that the tissue distribution of the mRNA was very similar in human and rodents. The human HE6 gene was assigned to the X chromosome in a region, which is syntenic to the mouse. The HE6 sequence predicted a two-subunit receptor of the LNB-TM7 subfamily. A membrane preparation and protein solubilization method was adopted to identify the endogenous epididymal proteins. Two sets of peptides were chosen for antibody production, assuming that protein scission had occurred within the conserved GPS-motif. Western blot analysis revealed abundant two-subunit proteins in human and rodents, comprising an approximately 180 kDa hydrophilic ectosubunit and a <40 kDa hydrophobic endosubunit. Deglycosylation experiments showed that the large ectosubunits were highly glycosylated, the carbohydrate side chains dramatically increasing the apparent molecular mass. Immunohistochemical studies revealed that both subunits were associated with apical membranes of efferent ductule and proximal epididymal duct epithelia.

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