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Mol Endocrinol. 1989 Aug;3(8):1263-9.

Tissue-specific expression of two alternatively spliced insulin receptor mRNAs in man.

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Charles A. Dana Research Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.


Two previously reported insulin receptor cDNA sequences differ by 36 base pairs (bp) in the distal alpha-subunit, suggesting that alternative mRNA splicing within the coding region may occur (two insulin receptor isoforms). We developed a quantitative modification of the polymerase chain reaction technique in order to detect and characterize differential mRNA splicing at this site within the distal alpha-subunit. Using RNA derived from a variety of human cell types, we detected two polymerase chain reaction-amplified cDNA species reflecting the presence or absence of the above 36 nucleotides. Identity of the two cDNA species was confirmed by Southern blots, the use of a BANI restriction site present only in the 36 base pair segment and dideoxy sequencing. The relative expression of the two mRNA forms varied markedly in a tissue-specific manner. Buffy coat leukocytes and Epstein-Barr virus-transformed lymphocytes express only the shorter mRNA. Placenta expresses both species equally; muscle, isolated adipocytes and cultured fibroblasts express somewhat more of the longer mRNA (relative ratios of mRNA abundance of 1.51, 3.18, and 2.77, respectively); liver expresses mostly the longer mRNA (relative ratio of 9.8). In RNA derived from cultured and fresh cells from patients with several states of insulin resistance, the relative expression of the two mRNA species was similar to results obtained with comparable normal tissues. Although the functional significance of alternative splicing of the insulin receptor mRNA is unknown, differential expression of these two receptor mRNAs may provide a structural basis for previously observed tissue-specific differences in insulin binding and action.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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