In adult Xenopus serum, albumin gene expression is regulated by estrogen through the selective destabilization of its mRNA during the vitellogenic response. The present study reports the cDNA sequence of both the 68K and 74K Xenopusalbumin mRNAs, their derived amino acid sequence, and the regulation of albumin gene expression during em-bryogenesis. Albumin mRNA has a 39 nucleotide 5' untranslated region terminating in a consensus translation initiation site. The derived amino acid sequence yields a 24-amino acid hydrophobic leader sequence (terminating in Lys-Arg) that shares significant homology with the leader peptide of rat albumin. Overall there is 37% sequence identity between rat and frog albumin, with exact conservation of all but one Cys residue and the Pro residues responsible for the three domain structure of the mature protein. The 74K albumin (unlike the 68K albumin) is glycosylated; a point mutation converting Lys256 to Asn introduces an N-linked glycosylation site that is similar to one found in the sequence of mammalian α-fetoproteins. A larval albumin-like protein was not detectable by silver staining in serum of tadpoles before the beginning of metamorphosis at stage 48. Albumin mRNA is absent from early tadpoles (stages 22-47); however, it is rapidly induced at stage 48 as one of the earliest manifestations of metamorphosis. Exposure of embryos to 10-8 m T3, which regulates amphibian metamorphosis, resulted in the premature induction of albumin mRNA, such that it is evident by stage 43.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology