Silefrin is a sodefrin-like, female-attracting pheromone comprising 10 amino acids that was isolated from the abdominal gland of the sword-tailed newt, Cynops ensicauda. Hormonal effects on the silefrin precursor mRNA expression and silefrin content in the abdominal gland were investigated in the present study by using Northern blot analysis and radioimmunoassay, respectively. In the abdominal gland of newts treated with prolactin (PRL) plus testosterone propionate (TP), silefrin precursor mRNA expression was markedly enhanced as compared with that in the newts injected with saline, PRL, or TP. Values for radioimmunoassayable silefrin content in the abdominal gland paralleled those for the silefrin precursor mRNA levels. Moreover, silefrin precursor mRNA signals, as revealed by in situ hybridization, as well as stainability of immunoreactive silefrin were much more intense in the epithelial cells of the abdominal gland of the PRL-plus-TP-treated animals than in those of controls. We thus conclude that PRL and androgen are important factors for enhancing silefrin synthesis.
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