Insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) is a mitogenic polypeptide present in rat plasma at high levels during fetal and early postnatal life and is believed to play an important, although as yet undefined, role in fetal development. Both in humans and rats, expression of the IGF-II gene results in the appearance of several mRNA species. In the present study, cDNA and synthetic oligonucleotide probes were used to isolate and characterize the rat IGF-II gene from genomic libraries. The rat IGF-II gene extends over 12 kilobase pairs and contains two 5'-noncoding exons and three protein-coding exons. The two 5' exons represent alternative 5' regions of different mRNA molecules and are expressed from two distinct promoters. The two promoters are transcribed with different efficiencies but exhibit similar tissue-specific expression and regulation with developmental age
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