Human submandibular/sublingual saliva contains one non-glycosylated basic proline-rich protein whereas parotid saliva contains multiple such components. The submandibular protein has a primary structure identical with the C-terminal segment [TZ] of the human parotid acidic proline-rich proteins that contain 150 amino acid residues (Mr 16,000). Northern-blot analyses of human parotid and submandibular glands revealed that mRNAs containing the HaeIII repeat sequence typical for acidic proline-rich proteins are expressed in both of these salivary glands whereas mRNAs for non-glycosylated basic proline-rich proteins containing a typical BstN1 repeat sequence are expressed in the parotid but not in the submandibular gland. Products of translation in vitro of mRNAs from human parotid and submandibular glands were also examined. Two immunoprecipitable bands with Mr 29,000 and 28,000 were obtained by translation of both parotid and submandibular mRNA. In the presence of microsomal membranes these proteins gave rise to proteins electrophoretically identical with the secreted acidic proline-rich proteins of Mr 16,000. These proteins were cleaved by kallikrein, giving rise to proteins with electrophoretic mobilities identical with those of a smaller acidic proline-rich protein with Mr 11,000 and peptide TZ. Additional immunoprecipitable bands with Mr ranging from 35,000 to 46,000 were seen when parotid mRNA was used for translation in vitro, and are believed to be precursors of the basic proline-rich proteins encoded by the BstN1 repeat type mRNA. Neither these bands nor a separate precursor for the basic non-glycosylated proline-rich protein was detected when submandibular mRNA was used for translation in vitro. It is suggested that the non-glycosylated basic proline-rich protein present in human submandibular saliva arises by cleavage of acidic proline-rich proteins.

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