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Both insulin and glucagon from the pancreas of the holocephalan cartilaginous fish Callorhynchus milii (elephantfish) have been isolated and purified. Two reverse-phase h.p.l.c. steps enabled recovery of sufficient material for gas-phase sequencing of the intact chains as well as peptide digestion products. The elephantfish insulin sequence shows 14 differences from pig insulin, including two unusual substitutions, Val-A14 and Gln-B30, though none of these is thought likely to influence receptor binding significantly. The insulin B-chain contains 31 residues, one more than mammalian insulins, but markedly less than that of the closely related ratfish with which it otherwise exhibits high sequence similarity. Elephantfish and pig glucagons differ at only four positions, but there are six changes from the ratfish glucagon-36 (normal glucagon contains 29 residues) sequence. It is apparent that different prohormone proteolytic processing mechanisms operate in the two holocephalan species.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem J

Publication Date





261 - 266


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Chromatography, Gel, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Fishes, Glucagon, Insulin, Molecular Conformation, Molecular Sequence Data, Pancreatin, Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid