Analysis of the soluble protein fractions from the rat parotid, submandibular and sublingual glands by polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis reveals similarities in overall patterns of protein synthesis at birth. Tissue-specific changes in protein and glycoprotein synthesis occur shortly after birth and again at the time of weaning, 21-28 days later. Incorporation of [3H]thymidine into DNA was at its highest after birth and gradually decreased in both the parotid and submandibular gland, whereas [3H]thymidine incorporation in the sublingual gland was low throughout the time of neonatal development. [14C]Leucine incorporation into total protein increased in all glands with age after birth, showing an accelerated rate 21-28 days later. Trichloroacetic acid/phosphotungstic acid-precipitable [3H]fucose in glycoproteins declined over the time of neonatal development in the parotid and submandibular gland, but its incorporation remained higher in the sublingual gland. alpha-Amylase (EC 3.2.1.1) in the salivary glands increased at the time of weaning, as judged by detectability in sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide gels and by immune precipitation. Two membrane-bound enzymes, UDP-galactose:2-acetamido-2-deoxy-D-glucosamine 4 β-galactosyltransferase (EC 2.4.1.22) and UDP-galactose:2-acetamido-2-deoxy-D-galactosaminyl-protein 3 β-galactosyltransferase (no EC number), undergo tissue-specific change rather than changes induced by physiological stimulation of the salivary glands.

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