Expression of novel lipocalin-like milk protein gene is developmentally-regulated during lactation in the tammar wallaby, Macropus eugenii

Josephine F. Trott, Michael J. Wilson, Russell C. Hovey, Denis C. Shaw, Kevin R. Nicholas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


We have identified a novel whey protein (late lactation protein B; LLPB) that is first secreted in the milk of the tammar wallaby around day 200 of lactation. The LLPB cDNA clone of 843 base pairs encodes a mature protein of 156 amino acids. LLPB shares 65 and 48% nucleotide and deduced amino acid identity, respectively, with a previously identified late lactation protein A (LLPA). Both these proteins share significant amino acid sequence homology with the lipocalin protein family. Expression of the LLPB gene is induced between days 200 and 240 of lactation, in contrast to expression of the LLPA gene, which is induced at around 145 days of lactation. Maximal expression of both genes in mammary explants from tammars at 213 days of lactation required a combination of prolactin, insulin and hydrocortisone. Transcripts of LLPA, LLPB and β-lactoglobulin (TBLG) were localized to the same cells by in situ hybridization. A substantial level of alveolar maturation is required for expression of the LLP genes, unlike TBLG, which is expressed in immature alveoli. We hypothesize that the temporal expression of the LLPB and LLPA genes may be regulated both by endocrine stimuli and factors intrinsic to the mammary gland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-297
Number of pages11
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 23 2002
Externally publishedYes



  • Autocrine regulation
  • Late lactation protein
  • Mammary gland
  • Marsupial
  • Milk composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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