A cDNA-encoding turkey prolactin (PRL) has been isolated from a turkey pituitary library. The 953-base pair cDNA clone contains a 229-amino acid open reading frame which consists of a 30-amino acid signal peptide followed by a 199-amino acid mature PRL. The deduced amino acid sequence of turkey PRL shows greater than 90% homology to chicken PRL and 54-78% homology to other mammalian prolactins. A mRNA of 1100 nucleotides was detected in total RNA extracted from turkey pituitaries. Levels of PRL mRNA increased approximately 10-, 20-, and 100-fold in photostimulated, laying, and incubating hens, respectively, relative to that found in nonphotostimulated hens. The corresponding increases in plasma PRL levels were 2-, 5.5-, and 50-fold and in pituitary PRL content were 2-, 4-, and 13.4-fold, respectively. The transition from incubation to the photorefractory phase resulted in a 10-fold reduction in PRL mRNA, a 3.7-fold decrease in pituitary PRL, and a dramatic 50-fold decrease in plasma PRL. The changes in the abundance of pituitary PRL mRNA appear to be related to the changes in PRL-releasing activity observed at each of the reproductive stages. This study provides the first characterization of pituitary PRL mRNA and its comparison with plasma and pituitary PRL levels during the avian reproductive cycle.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Dr. Helen M. Sang for generously providing the chicken PRL cDNA clone. This work was contribution No. 17,897 of the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station based on research supported by the Station and USDA Grant 88-37242-03845.