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Endocrinology. 1993 Dec;133(6):2682-9.

The complementary deoxyribonucleic acid sequence, tissue distribution, and cellular localization of the rat granulin precursor.

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Royal Victoria Hospital/McGill University, Department of Medicine, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Granulins (grns; also called epithelins) are cysteine-rich polypeptides with pleiotropic effects on epithelial cell growth in vitro. The grn/epi gene is widely expressed in epithelial cell lines, many of which respond to the gene product, raising the possibility of autocrine or paracrine regulation. In vitro the grn gene is expressed in cell types of diverse lineages, including epithelial cells, lymphoid and myeloid cells, and fibroblasts, but it is not known which cells express the gene in vivo. To understand the physiological role of the grn gene products it is necessary to know the context of grn gene expression in vivo. We have isolated the rat grn precursor complementary DNA and determined, by Northern blot analysis and in situ hybridization, the tissue distribution and cellular localization of grn gene expression. The complementary DNA predicts a 589-amino acid protein of M(r) 63,500 with seven and one-half grn repeats arranged in tandem and shows an overall identity of 75% with human progrn. The grn gene is expressed in a variety of tissues derived from all three embryonic germ layers but is most abundant in the spleen and several tissues of endocrine significance including the adrenal glands, epididymis, placenta, and ovary. Although widely expressed in tissues, gene expression is restricted to specific cell types. For example in the kidney, grn messenger RNA was detected in epithelial cells of the proximal and distal convoluted tubules and Bowman's capsule but not in medullary epithelia. In the spleen, grn messenger RNA expression was localized in lymphocytes, whereas hybridization signals were detected over scattered hepatocytes in the liver. Thus, although the grn gene is widely expressed in tissues and cell lines of many lineages in vitro, its expression in situ is restricted to hematopoietic and some epithelial cells. The restricted cell distribution suggests that the expression of the grn gene is more closely regulated in vivo than in cell cultures. Its localization to epithelial cells in situ supports an autocrine or paracrine role for these factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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