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Two genetically variant forms of rat "acid" beta-galactosidase were found to differ in isoelectric point and pH dependence, but not in thermostability or sensitivity to inhibition by p-mercuribenzoate (PMB). The results of two backcrosses and an intercross indicated that the isoelectric focusing phenotypes are controlled by two codominant alleles at a single autosomal locus, for which we propose the name Glb-1. No significant linkage between Glb-1 and albino (LG I), brown (LG II), or hooded (LG VI) was observed. Strain-specific differences in total levels of kidney beta-galactosidase were detected, but it is not yet known whether the variation is controlled by genes linked to Glb-1. Experiments in which organ homogenates were incubated with neuraminidase indicated that the genetically variant forms do not result from differences in sialylation, though sialylation does appear to be largely responsible for the presence of multiple bands within each phenotype and for differences in the banding patterns of beta-galactosidases derived from different organs. The beta-galactosidase present in the bands used for Glb-1 typing resembles human GM1 gangliosidase (GLB1) with respect to pH optimum, substrate specificity, and susceptibility to inhibition by PMB. It also appears that Glb-1 is homologous with the Bgl-e locus of the mouse. In rats as in mice the genetically variant bands of beta-galactosidase are active at acid pH and have relatively high isoelectric points. In both species these bands are readily detectable in kidney homogenates, and can be revealed in homogenates of liver or spleen following treatment with neuraminidase. The presence of the same beta-galactosidase bands in homogenates of rat kidney and small intestine as well as in neuraminidase-treated homogenates of liver and spleen suggests that the Glb-1 variants differ by one or more point mutations in the structural gene for "acid" beta-galactosidase.


Alleles, Animals, Crosses, Genetic, Female, Galactosidases, Genes, Genetic Variation, Isoelectric Focusing, Male, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains, beta-Galactosidase