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Genetic and tissue-specific variation in the expression of a closely linked murine multigene family on chromosome 15 that encodes salivary and lacrimal proteins

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The murine submandibular gland (SMG) produces a novel class of highly acidic salivary proteins encoded by one or more highly abundant mRNA transcripts. In inbred mice, these transcripts are encoded by members of a multigene family comprising approximately 8–12 homologues. Most, and probably all, of these homologues are clustered at a new locus near belted (bt) on chromosome 15, which we designateSpt (salivary protein). Although physically closely linked,Spt genes differ in their patterns of expression both in strains of mice and in their tissues. One gene,Spt-1, is expressed at high levels in the SMG of all inbred strains examined. This gene is also expressed at significant levels in the lacrimal gland. A second gene,Spt-2, appears to be present as a single copy in some strains and as two copies in others. This gene is expressed at high levels only in the SMG of those strains carrying two copies, andSpt-2 mRNA is not detectable in the SMG of strains carrying only one copy. In contrast toSpt-1, theSpt-2 gene is not expressed at detectable levels in the lacrimal gland.

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This research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grants GM18684, CA33093, and GM30248 and by a UTHSC Dental Branch BRSG Award to D.P.D.

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Dickinson, D.P., Abel, K., Near, J. et al. Genetic and tissue-specific variation in the expression of a closely linked murine multigene family on chromosome 15 that encodes salivary and lacrimal proteins. Biochem Genet 27, 613–637 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00553636

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Key words

  • mouse
  • salivary protein
  • lacrimal protein
  • gene expression
  • Spt locus
  • multigene family