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K Sawada, K Ukena, S Kikuyama, and K Tsutsui

Recently, we identified in the bullfrog brain a novel neuropeptide with a C-terminal Leu-Pro-Leu-Arg-Phe-NH(2) sequence. This amphibian neuropeptide was shown to stimulate growth hormone (GH) release in vitro and in vivo and so was designated frog GH-releasing peptide (fGRP). In this study, we cloned a cDNA encoding fGRP from the bullfrog brain by a combination of 3' and 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE). The deduced fGRP precursor consisted of 221 amino acid residues, encoding one fGRP and three putative fGRP-related peptides that included Leu-Pro-Xaa-Arg-Phe-NH(2) (Xaa=Leu or Gln) at their C-termini. All these peptide sequences were flanked by a glycine C-terminal amidation signal and a single basic amino acid on each end as an endoproteolytic site. Northern blot analysis detected a single band of approximately 1.0 kb, indicating that no alternatively spliced forms were present. Such an apparent migration was in agreement with the estimated length of the cDNA, 902 bp. In situ hybridization further revealed the cellular localization of fGRP mRNA in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus. In addition to fGRP, its related peptides may be hypothalamic factors involved in pituitary hormone secretion.

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JM Conlon, JB Kim, A Johansson, and S Kikuyama

Electrospray mass spectrometry coupled with reverse-phase HPLC was used to identify peptides in the molecular mass range 3000-6000 Da in extracts of the pancreata of the clawed frog Xenopus laevis (Anura: Pipidae) and the red-bellied newt Cynops pyrrhogaster (Caudata: Salamandridae). Amino acid sequences of insulins, peptides derived from the post-translational processing of proglucagons and pancreatic polypeptide were determined by automated Edman degradation. Three molecular forms of insulin were isolated from the tetraploid organism X. laevis that represent insulin-1 and insulin-2, as deduced from the nucleotide sequences of previously characterized cDNAs, and a third form which differed from insulin-2 by the single amino acid substitution Asp(21)-->Glu in the B-chain. The amino acid sequence of Xenopus preproglucagons (genes 1 and 2 ) may be deduced from the nucleotide sequences of cDNAs but the pathways of post-translation processing of the precursors are not known. Two molecular forms of glucagon with 36 amino acids, derived from genes 1 and 2 and representing glucagon-29 extended from its C terminus by different heptapeptides, and five molecular forms of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) were isolated. The GLPs represent proglucagon-(77-113), -(122-158) and -(160-191) from gene 1, and proglucagon-(77-113) and -(160-191) from gene 2. A single molecular form of insulin, glucagon-36, a C-terminally alpha-amidated GLP-1 with 30 amino acid residues, a 33 amino acid residue GLP-2 and pancreatic polypeptide were isolated from the pancreatic extract of the diploid organism C. pyrrhogaster. This study has illustrated the power of electrospray mass spectrometry for the rapid and reliable identification of peptides in chromatographic fractions without the need to use radioimmunoassay, radioreceptor assay or bioassay.

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O. Carnevali, G. Mosconi, K. Yamamoto, T. Kobayashi, S. Kikuyama, and A. M. Polzonetti-Magni


Male and female Rana esculenta liver was induced in an in-vitro system by homologous and Rana catesbeiana pituitary to synthesize and release vitellogenin, a lipoglycophosphoprotein precursor of yolk proteins, lipovitellins and phosvitins, in oviparous vertebrates.

In the present experiments, the action of prolactin on hepatic vitellogenin synthesis and release was investigated, using ovine prolactin and Rana catesbeiana prolactin. The effects of prolactin on hepatic vitellogenin synthesis displayed different trends related to sex; male liver was found to be more responsive than female liver to both ovine and frog prolactin; moreover, the response to prolactin was dose-related (r = 0·998; P <0·05) in male but not in female liver. In both sexes, a high degree of seasonality in the responsiveness of the liver was found, since the vitellogenin levels induced by prolactin during the winter phase were significantly (P < 0·001) higher than those produced during the summer phase. Thus, there was no significant difference between the action of ovine and frog prolactin on vitellogenin synthesis; in fact, mammalian prolactins are structurally similar with regard to nucleotide and amino acid sequences.

The direct action of prolactin on hepatic vitellogenin synthesis in the frog Rana esculenta is discussed, on the basis of the role played by prolactin as an important growth modulatory hormone in fetal and adult tissues.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 137, 383–389