Biology of reproduction

Identification of INSL6, a new member of the insulin family that is expressed in the testis of the human and rat.

PMID 10819760


A new member of the insulin gene family (INSL6) was identified from an Expressed Sequence Tag database through a search for proteins containing the insulin family B-chain cysteine motif. Human and rat INSL6 encoded polypeptides of 213 and 188 amino acids, respectively. These orthologous sequences contained the B-chain, C-peptide, and A-chain motif found in other members of the insulin family. Human INSL6 was 43% identical to human relaxin H2 in the B- and A-chain regions. As with other family members, human and rat INSL6 had predicted dibasic sequences at the junction of the C-peptide and A-chain. Human INSL6 sequence had an additional dibasic site near the C-terminus of the A-chain. The presence of a single basic residue at the predicted junction of the B-chain and C-peptide suggests that multiple prohormone convertases are required to produce the fully mature hormone. INSL6 was found to be expressed at high levels in the testis as determined by Northern blot analysis and specifically within the seminiferous tubules in spermatocytes and round spermatids as detected by in situ hybridization analysis. Radiation hybrid mapping placed the human INSL6 locus at chromosome 9p24 near the placenta insulin-like homologue INSL4 and the autosomal testis-determining factor (TDFA) locus.