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Interference of kallikrein 1b26 (klk1b26) translation by microRNA specifically expressed in female mouse submandibular glands: an additional mechanism for sexual dimorphism of klk1b26 protein in the glands

Kinji Kurihara1*, Nobuo Nakanishi2 and Akito Tomomura2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiology, Meikai University School of Dentistry, Sakado, Saitama 350-0283, Japan

2 Department of Biochemistry, Meikai University School of Dentistry, Sakado, Saitama 350-0283, Japan

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Biology of Sex Differences 2011, 2:13  doi:10.1186/2042-6410-2-13

Published: 16 November 2011



Mouse kallikrein 1b26 (klk1b26) protein is more abundant in male submandibular glands (SMGs) than in female ones. This sexual dimorphism has been thought to be due to increased mRNA synthesis stimulated by androgen. However, the klk1b26 protein level in female SMG is far less than that expected from the mRNA level, suggesting an additional mechanism for down-regulation of klk1b26 expression in female SMGs.


We examined the effects of small non-coding RNAs in mouse SMGs on in vitro translation of klk1b26 using a reticulocyte lysate system and reverse transcription (RT)-PCR for klk1b26 mRNA. Statistical analyses were performed with a computer package (Microsoft Excel).


The microRNA (miRNA) preparation from female SMGs, but not male SMGs, interfered with the in vitro translation of the klk1b26 protein and inhibited the RT-PCR for klk1b26 mRNA with forward primers targeting its 5'-terminal region (between the 15th and 40th nucleotide from the 5'-terminal). The miRNA preparation from castrated mouse SMGs showed the inhibitory effect on the klk1b26 translation, but that from a 5α-dihydrotestosterone-treated female mouse SMGs did not. Synthetic miRNAs (miR-325 and miR-1497a), which have partial complementarity with klk1b26 mRNA at its 5'-terminal region (15th to 40th nucleotide position from the 5'-terminal), also interfered with the in vitro klk1b26 translation. When the female miRNA preparation was incubated with a 30-nucleotide-long single-strand oligoDNA (named [15th-44th]ssDNA, whose sequence corresponded to the 15th to 44th position from the 5'-terminal of klk1b26 mRNA) prior to the addition into the in vitro translation system, the inhibitory effect of the miRNA preparation on klk1b26 translation disappeared, while [15th-44th]ssDNA itself had no effect on the translation. Preincubation of the miRNA preparation with another single-strand DNA ([169th-198th]ssDNA, whose sequence corresponded with 169th to 198th position of klk1b26 mRNA) did not show the inhibitory effect.


The small non-coding RNA, most probably miRNA, specifically expressed in female mouse SMGs interfered with klk1b26 protein synthesis in the in vitro translation system. Therefore sexual dimorphism observed in klk1b26 expression in mouse SMGs is due at least in part to the female-specific small non-coding RNA in SMGs.

kallikrein; klk1b26; microRNA; salivary gland; sex difference; testosterone; translation