Serpins, a group of proteins with similar structural and functional properties, were first identified based on their unique mechanism of action: their inhibition of proteases. While most serpins have inhibitory roles, certain serpins are not involved in canonical proteolytic cascades but perform diverse functions including storage of ovalbumin in egg white, transport of hormones (thyroxine- and cortisol-binding globulin), and suppression of tumors. Of these, serpin peptidase inhibitor, clade B, member 11 (SERPINB11) is not an inhibitor of known proteases in humans and mice, and its function is unknown. In the present study, the SERPINB11 gene was cloned, and its expression profile was analyzed in various tissues from chickens. The chicken SERPINB11 gene has an open reading frame of 1346 nucleotides that encode a protein of 388 amino acids that has moderate homology (38.8%–42.3%) to mammalian SERPINB11 proteins. Importantly, SERPINB11 mRNA is most abundant in the chicken oviduct, specifically luminal and glandular epithelia, but it was not detected in any other chicken tissues of either sex. We then determined effects of diethylstilbestrol (DES; a synthetic nonsteroidal estrogen) on SERPINB11 expression in the chicken oviduct. Treatment of young chicks with DES induced SERPINB11 mRNA and protein only in luminal and glandular epithelial cells of the oviduct. Collectively, these results indicate that the novel estrogen-induced SERPINB11 gene is expressed only in epithelial cells of the chicken oviduct and implicate SERPINB11 in regulation of oviduct development and differentiated functions.
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Vol. 85 • No. 6