Heme is known to activate the HO (heme oxygenase) gene in cultured cells, but little is known about the effect of heme on the HO gene in intact organisms. The expressions of HO and its RNA in mouse liver were measured using mouse HO cDNA and HO antibody after injection of heme or splenectomy. The antibody was prepared against a β-galactosidase-HO hybrid protein made in Escherichia coli. The HO mRNA level increased to a maximum 15 h after heme injection. In contrast, expression of HO was maximal about 45 h after heme injection. Essentially the same results were obtained in mice after splenectomy. These results suggest that the HO gene in mouse liver was activated by the injection of heme and splenectomy.
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