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J Neurosci. 1998 Nov 1;18(21):8912-8.

Expression of ciliary tektins in brain and sensory development.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Neuroanatomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA. norra001@maroon.tc.umn.edu


Many types of neural tissues and sensory cells possess either motile or primary cilia. We report the first mammalian (murine testis) cDNA for tektin, a protein unique to cilia, flagella, and centrioles, which we have used to identify related proteins and genes in sensory tissues. Comparison with the sequence database reveals that tektins are a gene family, spanning evolution from Caenorhabditis elegans (in which they correlate with touch receptor cilia) and Drosophila melanogaster, to Mus musculus and Homo sapiens (in which they are found in brain, retina, melanocytes, and at least 13 other tissues). The peptide sequence RPNVELCRD, or a variant of it, is a prominent feature of tektins and is likely to form a functionally important protein domain. Using the cDNA as a probe, we determined the onset, relative levels, and locations of tektin expression in mouse for several adult tissues and embryonic stages by Northern blot analysis and in situ hybridization. Tektin expression is significant in adult brain and in the choroid plexus, the forming retina (primitive ependymal zone corresponding to early differentiating photoreceptor cells), and olfactory receptor neurons of stage embryonic day 14 embryos. There is a striking correlation of tektin expression with the known presence of either motile or primary cilia. The evolutionary conservation of tektins and their association with tubulin in cilia and centriole formation make them important and useful molecular targets for the study of neural development.

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