Dopamine regulates expression of the glandular-type kallikrein gene at the transcriptional level in the pituitary.

D. B. Pritchett, J. L. Roberts

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A glandular-like kallikrein enzyme, a member of a well-characterized family of specific arginyl endopeptidases that may be involved in prohormone processing, has previously been shown to be present in the anterior and neurointermediate lobes of the rat pituitary. We isolated glandular-like kallikrein cDNAs from cDNA libraries prepared from these two tissues. By nucleotide sequence, restriction endonuclease, solution hybridization/nuclease protection, and blot analyses, we showed that, of the 8-10 rat kallikrein-encoding genes, it is the true glandular kallikrein mRNA that is expressed in both pituitary lobes. RNA blot-hybridization analysis of anterior and neurointermediate lobe pituitary RNA revealed a kallikrein mRNA of approximately equal to 900 base pairs. As analyzed by blot-hybridization and solution hybridization/nuclease protection analyses, the true glandular kallikrein mRNA was present at low levels: approximately equal to 0.05% of total mRNA in both male and female neurointermediate lobes. Similar low levels of the glandular kallikrein mRNA were found in the male anterior lobe, whereas the levels were 10- to 15-fold higher in the female anterior lobe. In vivo administration of a dopamine agonist (bromocryptine) or antagonist (haloperidol) caused a decrease or increase, respectively, in the amount of true glandular kallikrein mRNA in the neurointermediate lobe of both sexes that closely paralleled changes in proopiomelanocortin mRNA levels. Bromocryptine decreased and haloperidol increased true glandular kallikrein mRNA levels in the female anterior lobe but had no effect in the male anterior lobe. Nuclear transcription run-on studies showed that the changes in mRNA were due, at least in part, to parallel effects of haloperidol on kallikrein gene transcription. Thus, these studies have demonstrated that the pituitary expresses the glandular-type member of the kallikrein gene family and that dopaminergic compounds elicit changes in kallikrein mRNA, at least in part, by modulating transcription. In the intermediate lobe, regulation of true glandular kallikrein gene expression is parallel to that of proopiomelanocortin gene expression, suggesting that the enzyme may play a physiological role in the production and/or secretion of the proopiomelanocortin peptides in this tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5545-5549
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 1987
Externally publishedYes

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