Thymocyte growth peptide (TGP) initiates DNA synthesis in immature thymocytes and has previously been characterized as an acidic peptide isolated from calf thymus. We now report the isolation of TGP from sheep thymus and show it to be a nonapeptide with a large N-terminal blocking moiety characterized by high UV absorbance. The amino acid composition is identical to FTS, consisting of 2 Gly, 2 Ser, 2 Glx, 1 Ala, 1 Lys, 1 Asx. In contrast to FTS, TGP is acidic with an apparent isoelectric point of 4.2 and a high UV absorbance at 270–280 nm. Reverse phase chromatography of TGP at an acidic pH results in a change of the molecule and the appearance of two new compounds TGP-A and TGP-B, both with less than 50% of the original TGP activity. Full activity could be restored by the addition of ZnCl2 to TGP-A. Both TGP-A and B have some amino acid composition and high UV absorbance as native TGP. We propose that TGP consists of a non-peptide moiety bound to the N-terminal of the nonapeptide Glu-Ala-Lys-Ser-Gln-Gly-Gly-Ser-Asn and that the active molecule is stabilized by Zn2+.

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