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Abstract

Relaxin, a peptide hormone responsible for the widening of the birth canal in mammals, has been purified from the ovaries of pregnant hogs. The amino acid sequences of its constituent A and B chains were determined, and the positions of the disulfide cross-links were established. Relaxin was shown to be identical to insulin with respect to its disulfide bond distribution, but significant homology was lacking in other positions. These findings suggest that relaxin and insulin were derived from a common ancestral gene. Since the intrauterine mode of propagation is synonymous with the development of mammals, the genetic distance between insulin and relaxin should therefore permit an estimate of the earliest possible time of commitment of one evolutionary branch to the development of mammals. This event was estimated to have occurred about 5 × 108 years ago.

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References

BLUNDELL, T, ADVANCES IN PROTEIN CHEMISTRY 26: 279 (1972).
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MCLAUGHLIN, P.J., ATLAS PROTEIN SEQUEN 5: 47 (1972).
SCHWABE, C, PRIMARY STRUCTURE OF A-CHAIN OF PORCINE RELAXIN, BIOCHEMICAL AND BIOPHYSICAL RESEARCH COMMUNICATIONS 70: 397 (1976).
SCHWABE, C, DEMONSTRATION OF A PYROGLUTAMYL RESIDUE AT N TERMINUS OF B-CHAIN OF PORCINE RELAXIN, BIOCHEMICAL AND BIOPHYSICAL RESEARCH COMMUNICATIONS 74: 1501 (1977).
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STEINETZ, B.G., BIOASSAY OF RELAXIN USING A REFERENCE STANDARD - A SIMPLE AND RELIABLE METHOD UTILIZING DIRECT MEASUREMENT OF INTERPUBIC LIGAMENT FORMATION IN MICE, ENDOCRINOLOGY 67: 102 (1960).

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Published In

Science
Volume 197 | Issue 4306
26 August 1977

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Published in print: 26 August 1977

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Christian Schwabe
Department of Biochemistry, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29401
J. Ken McDonald
Department of Biochemistry, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29401

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