Evidence for in vivo production of Humanin peptide, a neuroprotective factor against Alzheimer's disease-related insults

Hirohisa Tajima, Takako Niikura, Yuichi Hashimoto, Yuko Ito, Yoshiko Kita, Kenzo Terashita, Kazuto Yamazaki, Atsuo Koto, Sadakazu Aiso, Ikuo Nishimoto

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105 Citations (Scopus)


An unbiased functional screening with brain cDNA library from an Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain identified a novel 24-residue peptide Humanin (HN), which suppresses AD-related neurotoxicity. As the 1567-base cDNA containing the open reading frame (ORF) of HN is 99% identical to mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA as well as registered human mRNA, it was elusive whether HN is produced in vivo. Here, we raised anti-HN antibody and found that long cDNAs containing the ORF of HN (HN-ORF) produced the HN peptide in mammalian cells, dependent on the presence of full-length HN-ORF. Immunoblot analysis detected a 3-kDa protein with HN immunoreactivity in the testis and the colon in 3-week-old mice and in the testis in 12-week-old mice. HN immunoreactivity was also detected in an AD brain, but little in normal brains. This study suggests that HN peptide could be produced in vivo, and would provide a novel insight into the pathophysiology of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-231
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002 May 24
Externally publishedYes



  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Humanin
  • Humanin mRNA
  • Humanin peptide
  • In vivo expression
  • Mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA with a polyA tail
  • Neuronal death
  • Rescue factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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