Protein synthesis and secretion during in vitro pancreatic development and after treatment with the glucocorticoid dexamethasone and the thymidine analog 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) was monitored using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. At 14 days gestation, the synthesis of more than 200 proteins and the secretion of a complex set of proteins was detected. The relative rate of synthesis and secretion of the majority of this set of proteins decreased dramatically during development; after 6 days of culture most were no longer detected. In contrast, the synthesis and secretion of pancreas-specific exocrine proteins amylase, a Sepharose binding protein (protein 2), and chymotrypsinogen first detected after one day in culture, increased throughout the 6-day culture period. Other pancreatic digestive (pro)enzymes normally found in the adult such as the basic form of chymotrypsinogen, lipase, ribonuclease, and trypsinogen were not detected during the culture period. Thus at least two distinct regulatory events are involved in the expression of the exocrine genes during development. Dexamethasone treatment during the 6-day culture period selectively increased the synthesis of amylase and several other minor secretory proteins. BrdU treatment caused major changes in the protein synthetic and secretory patterns of the pancreas as well as in morphogenesis. BrdU treated pancreases showed greatly reduced synthesis of amylase, protein 2, and chymotrypsinogen and prolonged synthesis of many proteins normally detected only at early stages of pancreatic development. BrdU treatment also stimulated the secretion of a set of proteins ostensibly associated with duct cells. Thus, BrdU specifically alters the developmental program of the pancreas. © 1983.
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