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Mol Endocrinol. 1991 Jul;5(7):938-48.

Isolation and molecular cloning of insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-6.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Endocrinology, Whittier Institute for Diabetes and Endocrinology, La Jolla, California 92037.


Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) together with their binding proteins (BPs) are potential regulators of folliculogenesis in mammalian ovary. To identify the various species of IGFBPs present in the ovary, we have undertaken a comprehensive purification scheme using gel filtration, ligand-affinity chromatography, and several steps of reverse phase HPLC to isolate all of the BPs in pig ovarian follicular fluid. Our effort yielded five distinct IGFBPs, and upon analysis, they were found to correspond to the previously identified human and rat IGFBP-2, -3, -4, -5, and -6. IGFBP-1 was not found in the pig ovarian follicular fluid under our experimental procedure. Of the six known classes of IGFBPs, the complete primary structures of the first five have been determined, but not IGFBP-6. Using amino acid sequence information from a tryptic fragment of pig IGFBP-6 to prepare a probe, cDNA clones encoding rat and human IGFBP-6 have been isolated and characterized. The deduced amino acid sequence revealed that rat IGFBP-6 contains 201 amino acids with a calculated mol wt of 21,461, while the human homolog contains 216 amino acids with a calculated mol wt of 22,847. In addition, a distinctive feature of human and rat IGFBP-6 is that they lack, respectively, two and four of the 18 homologous cysteines that are present in all other five IGFBPs. The missing cysteines in IGFBP-6 resulted in the absence of the invariant Gly-Cys-Gly-Cys-Cys sequence in the amino-terminal region of the molecule. Human IGFBP-6 possesses a single Asn-linked glycosylation site near the carboxyl-terminal, whereas no potential Asn-linked glycosylation sites are present in the rat sequence. A single 1.3-kilobase IGFBP-6 mRNA was detected by Northern analysis in all rat tissues examined, including testis, intestine, adrenal, kidney, stomach, spleen, heart, lung, brain, and liver, indicating that this BP is a ubiquitous protein. The chromosome location of the IGFBP-6 gene in human has been determined using polymerase chain reaction on somatic cell hybrid DNAs of human and hamster, and the results showed that it is located on chromosome 12.

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