Organization and expression of the rat kallikrein gene family

D. R. Wines, J. M. Brady, D. B. Pritchett, J. L. Roberts, R. J. MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


We have cloned and characterized eight members of the kallikrein gene family from rat genomic DNA. Three of the cloned genes correspond to the previously characterized kallikrein family mRNAs PS, S2, and P1, which encode true kallikrein, tonin, and a novel kallikrein-like enzyme, respectively. In two cases, two kallikrein family genes are located on single genomic clones, suggesting close linkage of this family in the rat genome. Based on the total number of cloned genes and mRNAs, the minimum size of the rat family is 11 genes. Comparisons between the rat genes demonstrate a high degree of nucleotide sequence identity (>80%) in exonic, intronic, and nearby flanking regions. This extensive sequence conservation not limited to clearly functional domains suggests that concerted evolution for this gene family has occurred. Despite the high overall sequence conservation among the rat family members, several discrete regions of high variability exist in the coding regions. We have defined the tissue-specific expression of the PS (true kallikrein), S2 (tonin), and S3 mRNAs with gene-specific oligonucleotide probes derived from these variant regions. PS is expressed in a wide range of tissues, while S2 mRNA is restricted to the submaxillary gland and S3 mRNA to the submaxillary and prostate glands. The high sequence conservation within the upstream flanking regions of these genes suggests that a small number of nucleotide differences determines the disparate transcriptional specificity of individual family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7653-7662
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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