AIMS: To investigate the expression of mRNA transcripts containing exon A or B in lymphocyte cultures. METHODS: An in situ hybridisation technique, using synthetic, biotinylated oligonucleotide probes was deployed to allow the demonstration of exon A, exon B, or the normal hepatocyte message containing exon C. RESULTS: Lymphocytes used the same alternative splicing technique as monocytes in the generation of their alpha-1 antitrypsin message. They also provided data on the frequency of exon A and B expression in cells from different subjects. Most circulating granulocytes failed to show the alpha-1 antitrypsin message, suggesting that this protein is synthesised in the marrow and represents a stored protein component in polymorph and circulating nuclear lymphocytes. CONCLUSIONS: In situ hybridisation is a sensitive technique for the detection of individual gene exon use in cell populations. Lymphocytes show the same promoter use as that described for monocytes.
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