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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2013 May 6;370(1-2):149-62. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2013.03.001. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Molecular characterization of prolactin receptor (cPRLR) gene in chickens: gene structure, tissue expression, promoter analysis, and its interaction with chicken prolactin (cPRL) and prolactin-like protein (cPRL-L).

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Key Laboratory of Bio-resources and Eco-environment of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, PR China.


In this study, gene structure, tissue expression, and promoter usage of prolactin receptor (PRLR) and its interaction with prolactin (PRL) and the newly identified prolactin-like protein (PRL-L) were investigated in chickens. The results showed that (1) PRLR gene was found to consist of at least 25 exons by 5'-RACE and RT-PCR assays; (2) multiple PRLR 5'-UTR sequences different in exon composition were isolated from chicken liver or intestine by 5'-RACE and could be subdivided into type I and type II transcripts according to the first exon used (exon 1G or exon 1A); (3) PRLR Type I transcripts with exon 1G were detected to be predominantly expressed in adult kidney and small intestine by RT-PCR, implying their expression is likely controlled by a tissue-specific promoter (P1). By contrast, PRLR type II transcripts containing exon 1A are widely expressed in adult and embryonic tissues examined and their expression is controlled by a generic promoter (P2) near exon 1A, which was demonstrated to display promoter activities in cultured DF-1, HEK293 and LoVo cells by the dual-luciferase reporter assay; (4) Using a 5×STAT5-luciferase reporter system, cPRLR expressed in HepG2 cells was shown to be activated by recombinant cPRL and cPRL-L via interaction with PRLR membrane-proximal ligand-binding domain, suggesting that like cPRL, cPRL-L is also a functional ligand of cPRLR. Collectively, characterization of cPRLR gene helps to elucidate the roles of PRLR and its ligands in birds and provides insights into the regulatory mechanisms of PRLR expression conserved in birds and mammals.

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