A single gene encodes the beta-subunits of equine luteinizing hormone and chorionic gonadotropin.
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Equine (e) CG and LH beta-subunits have identical amino acid sequences, including an extended carboxyl-terminal peptide (CTP). This suggests that unlike the corresponding human genes, the beta-subunits of eCG and eLH may be encoded by a single gene and share a common proximal promotor region. To explore this, we isolated and characterized the eLH/CG beta gene(s). Data from Southern analyses suggest that the eCG beta and eLH beta subunits are products of the same single copy gene (eLH/CG beta). Overlapping fragments of the eLH/CG beta gene and cDNA were amplified from equine genomic DNA and pituitary gland mRNA by the polymerase chain reaction, cloned, and sequenced. The eLH/CG beta gene spans less than 1.2 kilobase-pairs and has three exons that translate a CTP-containing polypeptide identical in sequence to that previously reported for the mature equine protein. There is, however, little amino acid homology shown between the CTP of human or equine CG beta subunit. In addition, unlike the human genes, the same TATAA-like element appears to be involved in directing initiation of transcription of the eLH/CG beta gene in placenta and anterior pituitary. Based upon these differences, we suggest that the CG beta genes evolved independently in humans and equids and that different mechanisms are involved in their patterns of placenta-specific expression.