Four distinct kallikrein-related mRNAs (PS, SI, S2, and S3), encoded by members of a multigene family, are selectively expressed in various combinations in several rat tissues. Although closely related along most of the mRNA sequence, the four mRNAs can be selectively detected with synthetic oligonucleotide probes complementary to highly variable mRNA subregions. PS mRNA, which encodes an enzyme with true kallikrein activity, is present at high levels in the submaxillary gland, pancreas, and kidney. S1 mRNA, which encodes an enzyme similar to the PS kallikrein, is detected only in the submaxillary gland and is present at one-fifth the PS mRNA level. S2 mRNA, which encodes the enzyme tonin, is present in the submaxillary gland at half the PS mRNA level and at a slightly higher level in the prostate. S3 mRNA, which encodes an enzyme very similar to tonin, is present in the submaxillary gland at one-tenth the PS mRNA level and in the prostate at about the same level as tonin mRNA.
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