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Dev Biol February 23, 2006; 1075 (1): 20-5.
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Prion protein mRNA expression in Xenopus laevis: no induction during melanotrope cell activation.

van Rosmalen JW , Born JM , Martens GJ .

In mammals, the prion protein (PrP) is expressed in most tissues, but predominantly in neuronal tissues. Here, we investigated the temporal and spatial mRNA expression of PrP in the non-mammalian South African claw-toed frog Xenopus laevis. PrP transcripts were maternally expressed and detected throughout embryonic development, most strongly from neurulation onwards and including the tadpole stage. Microinjection of PrP mRNA into fertilized Xenopus eggs did not affect early embryonic development. In adult frogs, PrP mRNA expression was observed in all tissues examined, with high expression in brain, pituitary and testis. In Xenopus, the intermediate pituitary melanotrope cells are involved in background adaptation of the animal and produce high levels of the prohormone proopiomelanocortin (POMC) when the melanotrope cells are active (i.e. when the animal is black-adapted). Remarkably and in contrast to most secretory pathway components, PrP was not upregulated in the melanotropes of black-adapted animals, arguing against a direct role of this protein in POMC biosynthesis.

PubMed ID: 16466702
Article link: Dev Biol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: c4bpa pomc prnp

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