Corticotropin-releasing factor differentially regulates anterior and intermediate pituitary lobe proopiomelanocortin gene transcription, nuclear precursor RNA and mature mRNA in vivo

Dominic J. Autelitano, Mariann Blum, Maria Lopingc, Richard G. Alleri, James L. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Scopus citations


The proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene and its peptide products are under complex regulation in the pituitary by multiple hormonal, neurohormonal and neurotransmitter factors. Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) stimulates the release of POMC-derived peptides in both anterior and intermediate lobes of the pituitary, while having differential long-term effects on levels of POMC mRNA in the two pituitary lobes in vivo. In the present study, we have analyzed the release of POMC-derived peptides, as well as changes in POMC gene transcription, primary transcript, nuclear mRNA and cytoplasmic mRNA levels following acute and chronic in vivo CRF administration in an attempt to elucidate the mechanism whereby this tissue-specific differential regulation occurs. Subcutaneous injection of CRF led to a substantial increase in plasma adrenocorticotropin, but only a minor sustained rise in plasma a-melanocyte-stimulating hormone. CRF was shown to induce rapid, time-dependent increases in POMC gene transcription in both anterior and intermediate pituitary lobes, which were reflected by increases in the level of POMC primary transcript in the nucleus. POMC primary transcript remained 2-fold elevated in the anterior lobe for at least 4 h after a single injection of CRF; in contrast, CRF stimulation of POMC primary transcript in the intermediate lobe was short-lived, and had returned to control values by 60 min after injection. After 7 days of repetitive CRF administration, POMC primary transcript, mature nuclear mRNA and cytoplasmic mRNA were 2.5 to 3.0-fold elevated in the anterior pituitary. In the intermediate lobe, long-term CRF administration did not alter the levels of POMC primary transcript, but did cause a slight (25-30%) reduction in nuclear and cytoplasmic POMC mRNA. These studies suggest that the differential regulation of POMC gene expression by CRF in anterior and intermediate pituitary lobes occurs in part due to differences in transcriptional responsiveness of the two cell types to this regulatory factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1990



  • Corticotropin-releasing factor
  • Messenger ribonucleic acid
  • Peptide release
  • Pituitary
  • Primary transcript
  • Proopiomelanocortin
  • SI Nuclease protection assay
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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