Isolation and characterisation of the ovine gastrin-releasing peptide gene; abundant expression in the pregnant uterus and selective expression in fetal tissues
Journal of Endocrinology
High concentrations of a peptide related to gastrinreleasing peptide (GRP) are produced in the uteroplacental unit of the human and sheep and secreted into the general circulation. This suggests an endocrine role in addition to its role as a neurotransmitter/neuromodulator. The GRP is larger than the previously described form GRP(1-27) but it is not known whether the larger form is the product of a related GRP-like gene or differences in post-translational processing. We have therefore cloned
... therefore cloned the gene for the sheep homologue of the GRP gene and determined its distribution. Only a single GRP gene was found in the sheep. This had a similar organisation to the human GRP gene with three exons and two introns. The larger form of GRP in the pregnant endometrium therefore appears to be the result of an alteration in processing of the GRP prohormone. The expression of GRP mRNA in the pregnant uterus was extraordinarily high comprising one-third of all mRNA synthesised by the pregnant endometrium. As the endometrial GRP mRNA arises solely from the glandular epithelium, the localised synthesis of GRP mRNA would be far higher. GRP mRNA was expressed in a wide variety of fetal tissues (fundus, colon, jejunum, ileum, duodenum, kidney, adrenal, lung, heart and pancreas) with a corresponding presence of GRP immunoreactivity. The expression of GRP in the fetal lung was biphasic with peaks at mid-term and near parturition but none in the adult supporting the concept of a specific developmental role of GRP in the lung.