Dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPPIV) is a serine exoproteinase expressed at high levels in epithelial cells of kidney, liver and small intestine. Recently Watanabe, Kohima & Fujimoto [(1987) Experientia 43, 400-401] and Gossrau et al. [(1990) Histochem. J. 22, 172-173] reported that Fischer 344 rats are deficient in this enzyme. We have examined DPPIV expression in Fischer 344 rats available from U.S. and German suppliers and find that livers of the U.S. Fischer rats, in contrast with their German counterparts, express active DPPIV (D+). Northern analysis of liver RNA showed comparable levels of 3.4 kb and 5.6 kb DPPIV transcripts in both D+ rats from the U.S. and German (D-) rats. Monoclonal antibody (MAb) 236.3 to DPPIV immunoprecipitated at 150 kDa enzymically active (105 kDa, denatured) protein from surface-labelled D+ hepatocytes and reacted with canalicular and sinusoidal membranes (as shown by immunofluorescence microscopy). MAb 236.3 failed to immunoprecipitate a labelled peptide from D- cell extract or to stain D- liver sections. Polyclonal antibody (PAb) specific for DPPIV immunoprecipitated an enzymically active peptide from D+ hepatocyte extracts and a smaller, inactive peptide from D- hepatocyte extracts. Peptide maps of DPPIV immunoprecipitated from D+ extracts with MAb 236.3 and PAb were identical, but differed from that of the D- hepatocyte component recognized by PAb. The molecular basis of the DPPIV deficiency in the D- rats thus appears to be the translation of an enzymically inactive protein missing the epitope recognized by MAb 236.3. We have exploited these D- rats as hosts for syngeneic transplantation of liver cells from D+ Fischer rats. DPPIV expression is stable in the transplanted cells and allows them to be readily distinguished from the surrounding D- tissue.

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