The expression pattern of EP2 variants was examined in the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta). Using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and rapid amplification of complementary cDNA protocols, 11 message variants were identified in rhesus epididymis, only three of which (EP2B, EP2C, and EP2E) have previously been reported. The most abundant variant found in human, EP2A, was not found in rhesus. Seven of the eight new rhesus EP2 variants (EP2J–EP2Q) use previously unidentified 5′-splicing sites in exon 3, and four variants use three previously unidentified exons whose counterparts are present in the human EP2 gene. Overall, 3 of the 11 variants, EP2C, EP2E, and EP2Q, code for β-defensin-like peptides whose probable physiological role is to protect the male reproductive tract against microbial invasions. Because of the complex splicing pattern that causes some downstream exons to be read in any of the three reading frames, the N-termini of the other eight EP2 peptide variants consist of a partial β-defensin motif with three cysteines, followed by amino acid sequences that have no recognizable homology to known proteins.
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