Expression of differentiated functions in the developing porcine small intestine

Giuditta Perozzi, Daniela Barilà, Chiara Murgia, Denise Kelly, Robert Begbie, Timothy P. King

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Heterologous cDNA clones were used as hybridization probes to define the temporal expression of intestinal functions during fetal and postnatal development in the pig. Northern hybridization analysis revealed the presence of the mRNAs for the cellular retinol binding protein CRBP II, for the digestive enzyme aminopeptidase N, and for the microvillar proteins villin and ezrin in the small intestine of both weaned and 40-day fetal pigs. The presence of these mRNAs suggests that at the end of the first third of gestation the pig fetal intestine is already exhibiting some characteristics of a differentiated epithelium. The mRNAs for the two fatty acid-binding proteins I-FABP and L-FAPB, both involved in the metabolism of long chain fatty acids, were detected only in the intestinal mRNA extracted from weaned animals, while that for the cellular retinol-binding protein CRBP I was expressed only in the fetal tissue. The temporal limits of expression of intestinal genes in the pig epithelium seem therefore more easily defined than in other experimental animals with shorter times of fetal development. To isolate pig genes expressed at different developmental stages during intestinal epithelial cell differentiation, a cDNA library was constructed from poly(A) + RNA extracted from mature pig intestine. This library was employed in the isolation of clones encoding CRBP II and L-FABP. The nucleotide sequence of the two pig cDNA clones was determined, and the sequences of the deduced proteins compared with their homologues from other species. The results of this analysis showed that the two pig clones share a high level of homology with human and rat homologues both at the DNA and at the protein level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-705
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • absorptive epithelium
  • enterocyte maturation
  • pig cDNA clones
  • small intestine

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