The complete rat epididymal secretory protein I (ESP I) gene was isolated from a genomic library constructed in bacteriophage lambda Charon 4A. The complete nucleotide sequence of the gene and its immediate 5′ and 3′ flanking sequences were determined. Interesting features include the presence of a rare, but functional, splice donor site (…GC) and the presence of a putative androgen-receptor-binding element. A detailed analysis of ESP I regulation was carried out after castration and subsequent testosterone treatment, demonstrating the requirement for androgens. Efferent-duct ligation and cryptorchism, on the other hand, had no effect on the steady-state concentrations of ESP I transcripts. Comparison of the exon/intron organization of the ESP I gene with those of members of the lipocalin superfamily provides strong support for a common ancestral origin.

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