Expression of Type 2 Cystatin Genes CST1-CST5 in Adult Human Tissues and the Developing Submandibular Gland

Dickinson, D.P.; Thiesse, M.; Hicks, M.J.
January 2002
DNA & Cell Biology;Jan2002, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p47
Academic Journal
Type 2 cystatins comprise a class of cysteine peptidase inhibitor presumed to mediate protective functions at various locations, including the oral cavity. Seven cystatin genes are clustered within a 300-kb region of human 20p11.2. "Salivary" cystatins, encoded by CST1, 2, 4, and 5, are present in saliva at significant levels but have also been reported in other secretions, such as tears, suggesting that during their evolution, these genes have acquired mechanisms directing differential tissue-specific expression. However, their patterns of expression, which might also provide additional clues to their individual functions, have not been determined. Gene-specific RNase protection assays were used to examine the qualitative and quantitative distribution of expression of these seven genes within a collection of 23 adult human tissues. The CST3 gene, encoding cystatin C, was expressed at modest levels in all tissues examined. The presumptive pseudogenes CSTP1 and CSTP2 were not expressed at detectable levels in any tissue. The CST1, 2, 4, and 5 genes were expressed in differential, tissue-specific patterns. Expression of CST2 and CST5 was restricted to the submandibular and parotid glands, while CST1 and CST4 were expressed in these tissues and in the lacrimal gland. Immunohistochemistry studies localized expression to the serous-type secretory end pieces. Coexpression of CST1 and CST4 was also observed in the epithelial lining of the gallbladder and seminal vesicle. The CST1 product was detected in the tracheal glands and CST4 in the kidney and prostate. Despite their different adult patterns of expression, analysis of CST1, 2, 4, and 5 mRNA levels in infant submandibular glands demonstrated a coordinate upregulation of expression of between 3.5 and 9 months of age. The patterns of cystatin gene expression are consistent with several proposed oral functions of the salivary cystatins but also suggest they are important in other locations and that, despite their close sequence similarity, they are individually specialized.


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