Cloning of a novel inhibin alpha cDNA from rhesus monkey testis

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: Inhibins are dimeric gonadal protein hormones that negatively regulate pituitary FSH synthesis and secretion. Inhibin B is produced by testicular Sertoli cells and is the primary circulating form of inhibin in most adult male mammals. Inhibin B is comprised of the inhibin alpha subunit disulfide-linked to the inhibin/activin betaB subunit. Here we describe the cloning of the cDNAs encoding these subunits from adult rhesus monkey testis RNA. Methods: The subunit cDNAs were cloned by a combination of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and 5′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) RT-PCR from adult rhesus monkey testis RNA. Results: Both the inhibin alpha and betaB subunit nucleotide and predicted protein sequences are highly conserved with other mammalian species, particularly with humans. During the course of these investigations, a novel inhibin alpha mRNA isoform was also identified. This form, referred to as rhesus monkey inhibin alpha-variant 2, appears to derive from both alternative transcription initiation as well as alternative splicing. rmInhibin alpha-variant 2 is comprised of a novel 5′ exon (exon 0), which is spliced in-frame with exon 2 of the conventional inhibin alpha isoforms (variant 1). Exon 1 is skipped in its entirety such that the pro-alpha and part of the alpha N regions are not included in the predicted protein. rmInhibin alpha -variant 2 is of relatively low abundance and its biological function has not yet been ascertained. Conclusion: The data show that the predicted inhibin B protein is very similar between monkeys and humans. Therefore, studies in monkeys using recombinant human inhibins are likely to reflect actions of the homologous ligands. In addition, we have observed the first inhibin alpha subunit mRNA variant. It is possible that variants will be observed in other species as well and this may lead to novel insights into inhibin action.