We have characterized two kallikrein gene family members expressed in the prostate and submaxillary glands of rats. One mRNA (S3) is identical with the previously characterized submaxillary gland S3 mRNA that encodes an enzyme closely related to tonin. The second mRNA (P1) encodes a novel kallikrein-like enzyme that retains key amino acid residues responsible for the characteristic enzymatic cleavage specificity of kallikrein. Two P1-specific oligonucleotide probes derived from the P1 mRNA sequence were used to demonstrate the presence of P1 mRNA in the prostate and submaxillary glands and its absence in eight other rat tissues known to express one or more members of the kallikrein family. The P1-coding gene (rGK-8) was identified among genomic clones containing kallikrein family members by hybridization with a P1-specific oligonucleotide probe. The identification of the P1 gene was verified by nucleotide sequencing; the exon sequences of rGK-8 match the P1 mRNA sequence. The upstream region of rGK-8, where transcriptional regulatory elements likely reside, is very similar to that of other rat kallikrein family genes which are expressed in distinct tissue-specific patterns.
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