- The kallikrein genes and their expression in the salivary glands of mouse, the African rat Mastomys natalensis and human were compared. The Mastomys kallikrein genes comprise a family of genes similar to those of mouse. Androgen markedly enhances transcription of glandular nerve growth factor (NGF) and kallikrein in both male and female Mastomys suggesting the presence of testosterone regulated kallikrein genes for growth factor precursor-processing in both sexes. In contrast, although a kallikrein transcript was detected in human salivary glands of the same size as the mouse or Mastomys transcript no difference in the amount of transcript was seen in adult male or female. The absence of kallikrein genes regulated by testosterone and of NGF transcripts in the human implies that there is no human equivalent of the mouse salivary 7S NGF complex.