The submandibular gland undergoes a complex, androgen-dependent development coincident with sexual maturation in the male mouse. However, in mice with the X-linked syndrome of testicular feminization (Tfm), this sexual dimorphism does not develop, and androgen- mediated production of nerve growth factor is deficient. To determine whether other androgen functions are defective in this mutation, esteroproteolytic activity was assessed in the submandibular glands of normal male and female mice, of Tfm mice, and of heterozygous female carriers for the Tfm mutation before and after the administration of testosterone propionate for 8 days. Both kinetic assays of the total capacity of extracts to catalyze the hydrolysis of tosyl arginine methyl ester (TAME) and immunoelectrophoresis to detect two specific esteroproteases, A and D, were utilized. The Tfm animal exhibited almost no increase in total Tamase activity after treatment with testosterone propionate whereas the heterozygous female carriers developed an increase in Tamase activity following androgen administration that was intermediate between that shown by normal female and by Tfm mice. However, by immunoelectrophoresis it was clear that one of the two proteases (A) is formed in the Tfm animal following androgen treatment whereas D was missing in the Tfm under all conditions studied. In addition, the previous report that nerve growth factor is deficient in the Tfm has been confirmed.
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