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.
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