Pancreatic regenerating protein (reg I) is expressed in acinar cells and is mitogenic to β- and ductal cells. Isolation of large amounts of endogenous reg I for in vivo and in vitro experiments has been difficult. The aim of this study was to develop a recombinant protein and determine its bioactivity on rat pancreatic derived cells. cDNA of the rat reg I coding region was created with unique BamHI flanking sequences using reverse transcriptase PCR. The coding region was then cloned into a bacterial expression vector in which expression is controlled by a T7 promoter. After transformation into the Escherichia coli strain B21(DE3) and induction by isopropyl-β-D-thiogalactopyranoside, a fusion protein of 24 kDa in size, named reg-PET, was noted in the bacterial lysate. This protein contained a polyhistidine and S-peptide sequence to facilitate isolation and identification, respectively. This protein was purified using affinity chromatography, and identity was confirmed with gel electrophoresis and Western analysis. The reg-PET protein was mitogenic to both ARIP and RIN cells, rat pancreatic ductal and β-cell lines, respectively. Antibodies raised to the protein reacted against rat reg I in pancreas. The purified recombinant reg I fusion protein, like endogenous reg I, is mitogenic to pancreatic derived cells. It is more potent than reg I isolated from pancreatic tissue. This protein can be isolated rapidly, easily, and with a high amount of purity. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
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