Genomic Organization, Tissue Distribution and Functional Characterization of the Rat Pate Gene Cluster
The cysteine rich prostate and testis expressed (Pate) proteins identified till date are thought to resemble the three fingered protein/urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor proteins. In this study, for the first time, we report the identification, cloning and characterization of rat Pate gene cluster and also determine the expression pattern. The rat Pate genes are clustered on chromosome 8 and their predicted proteins retained the ten cysteine signature characteristic to TFP/Ly-6 protein family. PATE and PATE-F three dimensional protein structure was found to be similar to that of the toxin bucandin. Though Pate gene expression is thought to be prostate and testis specific, we observed that rat Pate genes are also expressed in seminal vesicle and epididymis and in tissues beyond the male reproductive tract. In the developing rats (20–60 day old), expression of Pate genes seem to be androgen dependent in the epididymis and testis. In the adult rat, androgen ablation resulted in down regulation of the majority of Pate genes in the epididymides. PATE and PATE-F proteins were found to be expressed abundantly in the male reproductive tract of rats and on the sperm. Recombinant PATE protein exhibited potent antibacterial activity, whereas PATE-F did not exhibit any antibacterial activity. Pate expression was induced in the epididymides when challenged with LPS. Based on our results, we conclude that rat PATE proteins may contribute to the reproductive and defense functions.