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Endocrinology. 1992 Jul;131(1):291-6.

Mullerian duct regression and antiproliferative bioactivities of mullerian inhibiting substance reside in its carboxy-terminal domain.

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Pediatric Surgical Research Laboratories, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


A 25-kilodalton dimeric carboxy-terminal fragment of the recombinant human Mullerian inhibiting substance protein (rhMIS) was produced by proteolytic cleavage with plasmin and purified by size-exclusion chromatography. The identity of the isolated dimer as the carboxy-terminal fragment was confirmed by gel electrophoresis and Western analysis. As was true of every sample of the holo molecule, all preparations of the carboxy-terminal domain of rhMIS (n = 10), when added in the 0.5-5.0 micrograms/ml range, exhibited a dose-dependent partial to complete regression of the 14.5-day fetal rat Mullerian duct in an organ culture assay. The carboxy-terminal dimer also inhibited, in a dose-dependent manner, the growth of A431 cells in monolayer cultures. Daily addition of 5, 10, or 20 micrograms carboxy-terminus for 3 days resulted in 0%, 25%, and 100% inhibition of cell proliferation, respectively. Similar and higher doses of holo rhMIS had no or inconsistent antiproliferative activity (0-34% inhibition), even though the preparations caused Mullerian duct regression. All amino-terminal fragments prepared using this separation protocol were found to be inactive in these assays. These findings suggest that the bioactivity of rhMIS as a regressor of fetal Mullerian ducts and an inhibitor of A431 cell growth resides in its carboxy-terminal domain. These results indicate that the urogenital ridge tissue, but not A431 cells in culture, may be capable of cleaving intact MIS to a biologically active conformation.

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