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Differentiation. 1990 Feb;42(3):172-83.

Developmental expression of adenosine deaminase in the upper alimentary tract of mice.

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Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030.


The distribution and localization of adenosine deaminase (ADA) was studied during postnatal development of the alimentary tract in mice. There was detectable enzyme activity in all organs examined, but a range of more than 10,000 fold in the relative levels of specific activity was observed among adult tissues. A comprehensive survey of multiple adult tissues revealed that the highest levels of ADA occur in the upper alimentary tract (tongue, esophagus, forestomach, proximal small intestine). Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that ADA was predominantly localized to the epithelial lining of the alimentary mucosa: the keratinized squamous epithelium that lines the forestomach, esophagus, and surface of the tongue; and the simple columnar epithelium of the proximal small intestine (duodenum, proximal jejunum). Biochemical analysis revealed that ADA was one of the most abundant proteins of these mucosal tissue layers, accounting for 5%-20% of the total soluble protein. Tissue-specific differences in ADA activity correlated both with levels of immunoreactive protein and RNA abundance. The level of ADA activity in the upper alimentary tissues was subject to pronounced developmental control, being low at birth and achieving very high levels within the first few weeks of postnatal life. The appearance in development of ADA-immunoreactivity coincided with maturation of the mucosal epithelium. These results suggest that ADA is subject to strong cell-specific developmental regulation during functional differentiation of certain foregut derivatives in mice.

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