LMO1, LMO3 and LMO4 were cloned from the adult porcine pituitary cDNA library. Amino acid sequences of porcine LMO1, LMO3 and LMO4 were highly conserved among mammalian species. Transfection assay of the pituitary-derived cell line LβT2 was carried out using the pituitary αGSU (glycoprotein hormone α-subunit) promoter (−1059/+12 b) fused to pSEAP2-Basic vector as a reporter gene. The results demonstrated that, whereas LMO4 showed no apparent effect, αGSU promoter activity was markedly repressed by LMO1 but activated by LMO3, indicating the different roles of the three highly homologous proteins, LMO1, LMO3 and LMO4. Knockdown assay by LMO siRNAs (small interfering RNAs) confirmed the above results for LMO1 and LMO3, whereas that by LMO4 siRNA increased the expression, indicating different modes of action. RT–PCR (reverse transcription–PCR) for total RNAs of several cell lines showed that LMO1 and LMO4 mRNAs were present ubiquitously in all cell lines, except for LMO1 in L929 cells. In contrast, LMO3 mRNA was abundant only in LβT4 and GH3 cells with only small amounts in LβT2 and MtT/S cells, indicating the cell-type-specific function of this protein. Real-time analyses of porcine pituitary ontogeny revealed that the three LMO genes are expressed during the fetal period and decline immediately afterwards, followed by a remarkably low level of LMO3 and LMO4 after birth. RT–PCR of the porcine tissues examined showed ubiquitous expression of LMO4, whereas LMO1 and LMO3 are expressed tissue specifically. Thus the present study demonstrated that three highly related LIM cofactors, LMO1, LMO3 and LMO4, have different effects on αGSU gene expression in the pituitary glands.

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