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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1982 Jul;79(13):3987-91.

Complete sequence analysis of cDNA clones encoding rat whey phosphoprotein: homology to a protease inhibitor.


Lactoprotein clones have been isolated from a rat mammary gland recombinant library of cDNA plasmids. Clones p-Wp 52 and p-Wp 47 were shown by hybrid selection, in vitro translation, and immunoprecipitation to represent a cloned DNA sequence encoding rat whey phosphoprotein. We report here the nucleotide sequence of the cDNA insert of p-Wp 52 and shows that it encodes the complete whey phosphoprotein sequence. The encoded sequence shows a high content of half-cystine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and serine but an absence of tyrosine. The half-cystines appear in unique arrangements and are repeated in two domains of the protein. The second domain has striking similarities with the second domain of the red sea turtle protease inhibitor. Clone p-Wp 52 has allowed the study of expression of whey phosphoprotein mRNA during functional differentiation of rat mammary gland and in mammary tumors. The whey phosphoprotein mRNA is detected during midpregnancy and lactation in the rat mammary gland but is barely detected in mammary tumors in which other milk protein mRNAs are expressed. The whey phosphoprotein gene in these tumors is hypermethylated, correlating with the reduced expression of this gene.

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