Sexual dimorphism of messenger RNA isolated from neonatal rat brain

in Journal of Endocrinology
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The rat brain is sexually dimorphic with respect to structure and function, and there is evidence that these differences are effected in the fetus through changes in protein synthesis, some of which may result from the intervention of gonadal steroids. To investigate this, messenger RNA (mRNA) from the limbic system and cerebellum of neonatal rats was prepared, translated in a rabbit reticulocyte system in vitro and the products were analysed by two-dimensional electrophoresis and fluorography. Some of the results were further analysed using image analysis. There was a striking sexual dimorphism in the patterns of incorporation of [35S]methionine into proteins using mRNA from the limbic system, in that groups of proteins were apparently present in male-but not in female-derived fluorograms and vice versa. One protein, tentatively identified from its coordinates as α-tubulin, was more abundant in male-derived fluorograms. Although there were no clear-cut qualitative sex differences using mRNA derived from the cerebellum, that derived from the male cerebellum appeared to be consistently more active. These results provide direct evidence for a sexual dimorphism at the transcriptional level in the neonatal limbic system of the rat.

J. Endocr. (1986) 109, 23–28


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