A new member of the insulin gene superfamily (INSL5) was identified by searching EST databases for the presence of the conserved insulin B-chain cysteine motif. Human and murine INSL5 are both polypeptides of 135 amino acids, matching the classical signature of the insulin superfamily. Through the B- and A-chain regions, human INSL5 has 48% identity to shark relaxin, 40% identity to human relaxin, and 34% identity to human Leydig insulin-like factor. Northern blot analysis detected expression of human INSL5 in rectal, colon, and uterine tissue and of murine INSL5 only in thymic tissue. Using quantitative RT-PCR, expression of murine INSL5 was detected in the highest quantity in colon followed by thymus, and minimal expression was seen in testis. By radiation hybrid mapping and the use of surrounding markers, human INSL5 maps to chromosome 1 in the 1p31.1 to 1p22.3 region.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.