A novel parathyroid hormone-related protein: role in pathology and physiology

T. J. Martin, P. R. Ebeling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Many factors, such as interleukin 1, TGF alpha, TNF alpha, and beta and prostaglandins, have been implicated in aetiological roles in HHM (Martin and Mundy, 1987). Much interest in the past has also centered upon the likelihood of ectopic secretion of PTH in this condition. We have purified a protein (PTHrP) implicated in HHM from a human lung cancer cell line (BEN). Full-length cDNA clones have been isolated and found to encode a prepropeptide of 36 amino acids and a mature protein of 141 amino acids. Eight of the first 13 amino acids were identical with human PTH, although antisera directed to the NH2-terminus of PTHrP do not recognize PTH; this homology is not maintained in the remainder of the molecule. PTHrP therefore represents a previously unrecognized hormone, possibly related to the PTH gene by a gene duplication mechanism. In support for this notion, the PTHrP gene has been localized to the short arm of chromosome 12; it is believed that chromosome 11, containing the PTH gene, and chromosome 12 are evolutionarily related. In addition, the human PTHrP gene has been isolated, characterized, and shown to have a similar intron/exon organization as the PTH gene. It is possible that the original ancestral gene is indeed the PTHrP gene; resolution of this question awaits studies in lower species. Peptides synthesized to the predicted protein sequence have enabled detailed structure-function studies that have identified NH2-terminal sequences to be responsible for the biological effects of the molecule. Antibodies raised against the various synthetic peptides have led to the immunohistochemical localization of PTHrP in many human squamous cell carcinomas as well as in subpopulation of keratinocytes of normal skin. The availability of these antibodies has opened the way for the development of a radioimmunoassay to detect PTHrP in the sera of cancer patients at risk of developing hypercalcemia. The recent characterization of PTHrP-like activity in the ovine fetus suggests some physiological function for PTHrP. It is possible that PTHrP, as the fetal counterpart of PTH, has the role of maintaining the maternal-fetal calcium gradient. The isolation and characterization of PTHrP has added to our understanding of the mechanisms of hypercalcemia, and may contribute to the understanding of other metabolic bone diseases such as osteoporosis and Paget's disease. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, PTHrP may play a hitherto unrecognized role in fetal calcium metabolism and in normal cell physiology.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages37
JournalProgress in Clinical and Biological Research
Volume332
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes

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