HUGO ALBERTO BARRERA-SALDANA, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The placenta is the site of synthesis of various peptide and steroid hormones related to pregnancy. Human placental lactogen (hPL) is the predominant peptide hormone secreted by term placenta and its synthesis is tissue-specific and coupled to placenta development. The objective of this work was to study the structure and expression of the hPL. Poly(A('+))RNA from human term placenta was translated in a mouse-derived cell-free system. A major band corresponding to pre-hPL and a minor band comigrating with mature hPL, represent (TURN)15% of the total radioactively labeled proteins. Analysis of the poly(A('+))RNA showed a prominent band at approximately 860 nucleotides. A corresponding band was observed in Northern blots of total RNA, hybridized with {('32)P}-labeled recombinant plasmid containing a portion of hPL cDNA. Similar analyses of nuclear RNA showed at least four additional bands at 990, 1200, 1460 and 1760 nucleotides, respectively, which are likely precursors of hPL mRNA. Poly(A('+))RNA was used to construct a cDNA library, of which approximately 5% of the clones were found to hybridize to hPL DNA sequences. Heteroduplexes constructed between a clone containing a 815 bp hPL cDNA insert and a hPL genomic DNA clone revealed four small intervening sequences which can account for the lengths observed in hnRNA molecules. Recombinant plasmid HCS-pBR322 containing a 550 bp insert of a cDNA transcript of human placental lactogen (hPL) mRNA was ('3)H-labeled an hybridized in situ to human chromosome preparations. These experiments allowed assignment of the hPL and growth hormone (hGH) genes, which have over 90% nucleotide homology in their coding sequences, to band q22-24 of chromosome 17. A gene copy number experiment showed that both genes are present in (TURN)3 copies per haploid genome. Experiments were designed to determine if all members of the hPL gene cluster, consisting of four non-allelic genes, are transcribed in term placenta. Advantage was taken of differences in restriction endonuclease sites in the coding portions of the different hPL genes, to distinguish the putative cDNAs of the transcriptionally active genes. Two genes were found to be represented in the cDNA library and their cDNA transcripts were isolated and characterized. Three independent methods showed that their corresponding mRNAs are about equally represented in the hPL mRNA population. The two cDNAs code for prehPL proteins which differ at a single amino acid position. However the secreted hPLs have identical amino acid sequences. A tetramer insertion duplication was found in a palindrome area of the 3' untranslated region of one of the hPL mRNAs.

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Recommended Citation

BARRERA-SALDANA, HUGO ALBERTO, "EXPRESSION OF THE HUMAN PLACENTAL LACTOGEN GENES" (1982). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8306209.