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Peptides. 1993 Nov-Dec;14(6):1095-102.

Enhanced expression of neurotensin/neuromedin N mRNA and products of NT/NMN precursor processing in neonatal rats.

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Department of Physiology, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester 01655.


Intestinal levels of immunoreactive neurotensin (iNT) and neuromedin N (iNMN), as well as mRNA for the NT/NMN precursor, were elevated during the suckling period in rats. While transient expression of NT/NMN was observed at 1-5 days of age in the proximal small intestine and colon, NT/NMN levels in the ileum increased to peak at 10-20 days of age and then decreased to adult levels. The levels of these peptides were not elevated in the central nervous system and pituitary over this time period. Chromatographic analyses of jejunoileal extracts indicated that large molecular forms of iNT and iNMN were present, constituting approximately 1.3% of total iNT and approximately 56% of total iNMN, respectively. Treatment of the large forms with pepsin, which is known to generate the fully immunoreactive peptides, NT(3-13), NT(4-13), and NMN, increased immunoreactivity tenfold (iNT) and 1.2-fold (iNMN). Thus, large forms actually constituted approximately 13% (iNT) and approximately 60% (iNMN). Based upon its physicochemical properties, large molecular iNMN was tentatively identified as a 125 residue peptide with NMN at its C-terminus [i.e., rat prepro-NT/NMN(23-147)]. The properties of large molecular iNT were most similar to those predicted for the entire precursor [i.e., rat prepro-NT/NMN(23-169)]. These results indicate a) that enhanced expression of NT/NMN occurs in a tissue-specific manner in rats during the suckling period; b) that the pattern of precursor processing in intestine yields primarily NT and a large molecular form of NMN.

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