A genetic locus closely linked to a protease inhibitor gene complex controls the level of multiple RNA transcripts

R E Hill, P H Shaw, R K Barth, N D Hastie

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The two major protease inhibitors in mouse plasma are alpha 1-protease inhibitor (alpha 1-PI), putative inhibitor of neutrophil elastase, and contrapsin, an inhibitor in vitro of trypsinlike proteases. We have shown by nucleotide sequence analysis that these two inhibitors are related (R. E. Hill, P. H. Shaw, P. A. Boyd, H. Baumann, and N. D. Hastie, Nature (London) 311:175-177, 1984). Here, we show that the contrapsin and alpha 1-PI genes are members of two different multigene families, each containing at least three genes in mice and rats. We established the chromosomal locations of these genes by analyzing the segregation of restriction fragment length polymorphisms in recombinant inbred mouse strains. These experiments show that the multiple genes in each family are clustered and that the two gene families are closely linked on chromosome 12. Thus the genes for contrapsin and alpha 1-PI are likely to have evolved by duplication of a common ancestral gene. The contrapsin multigene family codes for multiple mRNA transcripts in the liver. There is a genetic difference among inbred mouse strains in the regulation of two of these transcripts. In some inbred strains the transcripts are synthesized constitutively; in others they are induced by inflammation. We mapped in recombinant inbred strains the regulatory locus responsible for this genetic variation and found it is linked to the contrapsin multigene family, which suggests a cis-acting regulatory element. We also found that the contrapsin and the alpha 1-PI multigene families have acquired very different regulatory responses since the time of the gene duplication event.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2114-22
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1985


  • Animals
  • Blood Proteins
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • Genes
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Hypophysectomy
  • Liver
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • RNA
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred BUF
  • Serpins
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Trypsin Inhibitors
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin


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