Cloning and characterization of a novel zinc finger protein (rZFP96) in the rat corpus luteum

Ricky Lareu, M.D. Lacher, R.R. Friis, Arunasalam Dharmarajan

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The corpus luteum (CL) is a temporary organ involved in the maintenance of pregnancy. In the course of its life-cycle, the CL undergoes two distinct and consecutive processes for its inevitable removal through apoptosis: functional and structural luteolysis. We isolated a gene encoding for a novel rat zinc finger protein (ZFP), named rat ZFP96 (rZFP96) from an ovarian lambda cDNA library. Sequence analysis revealed close sequence and structural similarity to mouse ZFP96 and human zinc finger protein 305 (ZNF305). Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed a positive correlation with the end of pregnancy, that is, the onset of structural luteolysis of the CL. Messenger RNA levels increased 3-fold (P < 0.01) between days 13 and 22 of pregnancy and 8-fold (P < 0.01) between day 13 of pregnancy and day 1 postpartum. In addition, we detected rZFP96 expression in mammary, placenta, heart, kidney and skeletal muscle. Sequence analysis predicted that rZFP96 has a high probability of localizing to the nuclear compartment. The presence of both a perfect consensus TGEKP linker sequence between zinc fingers 2 and 3 as well as several similar sequences between the other zinc fingers suggests physical interaction with DNA. Speculatively, rZFP96 may therefore function as a transcription factor, switching-off pro-survival genes and/or upregulating pro-apoptotic genes and thereby contributing to the demise of the CL. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-75
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Structure and Expression
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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