Expression of a calcium-mobilizing parathyroid hormone-like peptide in lactating mammary tissue

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Science  14 Oct 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4876, pp. 278-280
DOI: 10.1126/science.3175653


A survey of rat tissues by RNA analysis, aimed at uncovering the physiological function of the parathyroid hormone-like peptide (PTH-LP) associated with hypercalcemia of malignancy, revealed the presence of a 1.5-kilobase messenger RNA encoding this peptide in lactating mammary glands. PTH-LP messenger RNA is expressed in mammary tissue only during lactation; it appears and disappears rapidly (2 to 4 hours) as a function of the sucking stimulus. The identity of this messenger RNA was confirmed by cloning the rat PTH-LP complementary DNA, which predicts a peptide with strong similarity to the human homolog. Moreover, extracts from lactating mammary tissue stimulated parathyroid hormone-dependent adenylate cyclase. These findings suggest that PTH-LP plays a physiological role in lactation, possibly as a hormone for the mobilization or transfer (or both) of calcium to the milk.