Hepatic lipase (HL) gene expression was studied in rat ovaries. A transcript lacking exons 1 and 2 could be detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in the ovaries of mature cyclic females and of immature rats treated with pregnant mare serum followed by human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) to induce superovulation. By competitive RT-PCR the HL transcript was quantified. Low levels of HL mRNA were detected in ovaries of mature cyclic females and of immature rats. During superovulation HL mRNA was several fold higher than in mature cyclic rats and transiently increased to a maximum at 2 days after hCG treatment. Pulse-labelling of ovarian cells and ovarian slices with [35S]methionine followed by immunoprecipitation with polyclonal anti-HL IgGs showed de novo synthesis of a 47 kDa HL-related protein. Expression of the protein was transiently induced by gonadotropins with a peak at 2 days after hCG treatment. Induction of liver-type lipase activity occurred only after HL mRNA and synthesis of the HL-related protein had returned to pre-stimulatory levels. We conclude that in rat ovaries the HL gene is expressed into a variant mRNA and a 47 kDa protein. The expression of the HL gene in ovaries is inducible and precedes the expression of the mature, enzymatically active liver-type lipase
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