Prolactin (PRL) gene expression in three strains of GH cells (rat pituitary tumor cells) has been quantitated by measurement of: (a) intracellular and extracellular PRL, (b) cytoplasmic translatable PRL-specific mRNA (mRNAPRL), and (c) molecular hybridization of cytoplasmic poly(A) RNA to cDNAPRL (DNA complementary to mRNAPRL). Three GH cell lines utilized in this investigation were a PRL-producing (PRL+) strain, GH4C1, a PRL nonproducing 5-bromo-deoxyuridine resistnat (PRL- BrdUrdr) strain, F1BGH12C1, and a new strain, 928-9b, derived by fusion of PRL+ cells with a nuclear monolayer of the PRL-, BrdUrdr GH cell strain. PRL production is a characteristic of 928-9b cells, but the level of PRL production (2-4 micrograms/mg protein/24 h) is much lower than that of the PRL+ strain, GH4C1 (15-25 micrograms/mg protein/24 h). Levels of cytoplasmic translatable mRNAPRL and cytoplasmic PRL-RNA sequences quantitated with a cDNAPRL probe were also much lower in 928-9b as compared to the PRL+ parent. PRL-RNA sequences could not be detected in the PRL- strain. Thyrotopin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulates PRL synthesis about threefold and inhibit a growth hormone (GH) synthesis 72% in the PRL+ strain. TRH has no effect on the synthesis of either PRL or GH in the 928-9b strain, although TRH receptors could be detected in these cells. Stimulation of PRL synthesis in the PRL+ strain by TRH could be correlated with increases in levels of cytoplasmic translatable mRNAPRL and increases in cytoplasmic PRL-RNA sequences. These results demonstrate that the graded expression of the PRL gene at the basal level, and in response to TRH, is caused by the regulated production of specific mRNA, i.e., mRNAPRL in these three GH cell strains.

This content is only available as a PDF.