An alternative splicing of the rat erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) gene; was identified in normal and erythroleukemia cells. A 105 bp insert was found at a region corresponding to the extracellular domain of EpoR. The alternative transcript was translated to a soluble EpoR (EpoR-S) expressed in spleen, bone marrow, and cultured erythroleukemia cells in addition to the full-length EpoR (EpoR-F). One of the rat erythroleukemia sublines, K4DT, which partially lost erythroid phenotypes and manifested monocyte/macrophage characteristics also lacked EpoR-S expression. Thus, expression of EpoR-S may play an important role in differentiation of rat erythroid cells.
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