The report of 'kallikrein-like' activity in the rat neuro-intermediate lobe (N-IL) and its possible involvement in pro-opiomelanocortin processing led us to explore the expression of the kallikrein gene(s) in the pituitary. Using 32P-labelled rat pancreatic kallikrein cDNA, we have shown positive hybridization for rat anterior pituitary poly(A) + RNA, of identical size on Northern blots ( ~ 1.0 kb) to rat kidney poly(A) + RNA run in parallel. Prior adrenalectomy or ovariectomy decreased the level of kallikrein mRNA seen in the anterior pituitary; total RNA from rat N-IL showed no significant hybridization. On hybridization histochemistry the anterior pituitary was strongly positive, and the neural and intermediate lobes negative. The previously reported kallikrein-like activity in the N-IL is therefore probably due to a non-kallikrein kininogenase; in the anterior pituitary, kallikrein may have a physiological role in limited precursor proteolysis, but lack kininogen activity.
- anterior pituitary
- hybridization histochemistry