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Gene. 2012 May 15;499(2):266-72. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Identification and characterization of canine growth differentiation factor-9 and its splicing variant.

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Laboratory of Experimental Animal Science, Kitasato University, School of Veterinary Medicine, Towada, Aomori 034-8628, Japan.


Growth differentiation factor-9 (GDF-9), a member of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily, is expressed exclusively in the oocyte within the ovary and plays essential roles in the ovarian function in mammals. However, a possible involvement of GDF-9 in canine ovarian physiology that has a unique ovulation process among mammals has not been studied. Interestingly, we have isolated two types of cDNA clones generated by an alternative splicing from a canine ovarian total RNA. The predominant long form cDNA shares a common precursor structure with GDF-9s in other species whereas the minor short form cDNA has a 172 amino acid truncation in the proregion. Using a transient expression system, we found that the long form cDNA has a defect in mature protein production whereas the short form cDNA readily produces mature protein. However, mutations at one or two N-glycosylation sites in the mature domain of the short form GDF-9 caused a loss in mature protein production. These results suggest that the prodomain and N-linked glycosylation of the mature domain regulate proper processing and secretion of canine GDF-9. Based on the biological functions of GDF-9, these characteristics of canine GDF-9 could be causatively linked to the unique ovulation process in the Canidae.

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