We have evaluated the presence of the so-called "estrogen-induced protein" (IP) in the thymus of immature rat. IP is one of the earliest proteins synthesized in response to estrogen in rat uterus and has recently been identified as the BB-isozyme of creatine-kinase (J. Biol. Chem. 256 (1981) 5741). Estrogen-exposed tissues were labelled with [35S]methionine and the soluble proteins separated by SDS-poiyacrylamide gel electrophoresis followed by fluorography. It was observed that estrogen stimulated the labelling of a thymic protein with electrophoretic mobility identical to that of uterine IP. The effect was dose-related and specific for estrogen receptor ligands. Thymic IP, like that of the uterus, was immunoprecipitated equally well by either anti-IP antiserum from rat uterus or anti-BB-creatinekinase antiserum from rat brain. After purification by ion-exchange and affinity chromatography, there was a parallel increase in the extent of recovery of IP and BB-creatine-kinase activity in both the thymus and the uterus. Using the immunohistochemical peroxidase-antiperoxidase method with anti-IP serum, the immune-reaction product was localized in a few cells identified as reticulo-epithelial cells. The thymocytes were always free of any reaction product. These data demonstrate that the reticulo-epithelial cells of rat thymus are a target for estrogens.
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