Opioids pp 379-392 | Cite as

Molecular Mechanisms in Proenkephalin Gene Regulation

  • N. Kley
  • J. P. Loeffler
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 104 / 1)


Proenkephalin (PENK) belongs to a family of three genes encoding peptides possessing opiate-like activity. Expression of the PENK gene is developmentally regulated in a tissue-specific manner. Widely expressed during embryogenesis in mitotic cells (Keshet et al. 1989), its expression is progressively restricted upon terminal differentiation. The biological significance of this temporal regulated expression is as yet unclear. Although in the nervous system enkephalins are established neurotransmitters, one may also speculate on paracrine effects and growth factor properties of these peptides during development. In the adult organism PENK is expressed in tissues of different embryological origin: testis, adrenal medulla, and throughout the peripheral and central nervous system. In the latter, PENK is expressed in neurons and astrocytes (Spruce et al. 1990; Shinoda et al. 1989; Melner et al. 1990).


Chromaffin Cell Phorbol Ester Adrenal Chromaffin Cell Bovine Chromaffin Cell Bovine Adrenal Chromaffin Cell 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Kley
  • J. P. Loeffler

There are no affiliations available

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