Immunocytochemistry and immunoblotting of avian prolactins using polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies toward a synthetic fragment of chicken prolactin.
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A major obstacle in the production of specific antibodies toward chicken prolactin (PRL) has been overcome by mimicking a putative epitope of the molecule using the synthetic decapeptide Lys-chPRL 59-67. This peptide represents the highest hydrophilicity peak of the amino acid sequence of chPRL that was recently derived from the nucleotide sequence. Polyclonal mouse antisera against the fragment specifically recognized the lactotropes in the cephalic lobe of the chicken pars distalis as illustrated by immunocytochemical double staining experiments. Monoclonal antibody production yielded antibodies that specifically labeled purified turkey PRL upon SDS-PAGE separation and immunoblotting. Turkey and chicken PRL showed a very similar polymorphism with respect to their apparent molecular weights, including the occurrence of a glycosylated variant of chicken PRL. The monoclonal antibodies were finally used to demonstrate the presence of PRL-like immunoreactivity both in the pituitary gland and in the brain of the quail. In the brain, immunoreactive neurons were in the nucleus accumbens and in the lateral parts of the ventro-medial hypothalamus, partly similar to those described in the rat.