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J Biol Chem. 1998 Feb 20;273(8):4574-84.

Molecular cloning and expression of ps20 growth inhibitor. A novel WAP-type "four-disulfide core" domain protein expressed in smooth muscle.

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Cell and Molecular Biology Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


We previously reported the purification of ps20 (Rowley, D. R., Dang, T. D., Larsen, M., Gerdes, M. J., McBride, L., and Lu, B. (1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270, 22058-22065), a urogenital sinus mesenchymal cell secreted protein having growth-inhibitory properties. We report here cloning of the 1.03-kilobase rat ps20 cDNA clone from the PS-1 (adult rat prostate smooth muscle) cDNA library. Partial clones were obtained by nested polymerase chain reaction with degenerate primers, and full-length ps20 cDNA clones were isolated by plaque hybridization. Sequence analysis revealed that ps20 protein contains a WAP-type "four-disulfide core" motif and is a novel member of the WAP signature protein family composed primarily of secreted serine protease inhibitors. Native ps20 immunoprecipitated from smooth muscle cells and recombinant ps20 both resolved on SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with apparent molecular mass of 27-29 kDa under reducing conditions and 21-23 kDa under non-reducing conditions, respectively. Stable ps20-transfectant COS-7 cell lines secreted ps20 and were growth-inhibited relative to mock transfectants. In addition, COS-7 and prostate carcinoma PC-3 cells were growth-inhibited by bacterially expressed ps20. Northern analysis indicated differential expression by tissue with highest expression in the heart. Immunohistochemical localization of ps20 protein showed cell-specific expression by both visceral and vascular smooth muscle in all tissues, including the prostate gland. These results indicate ps20 is a novel growth-regulatory member of the WAP signature family expressed by smooth muscle cells.

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