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Mol Cell Biol. 2002 Nov;22(21):7633-44.

Identification of mZnf8, a mouse Krüppel-like transcriptional repressor, as a novel nuclear interaction partner of Smad1.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Cell Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical School, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.


To identify novel genes that play critical roles in mediating bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signal pathways, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen using Smad1 as bait. A novel mouse Krüppel-type zinc finger protein, mZnf8, was isolated. Interactions between mZnf8 and Smad proteins were further analyzed with various in vitro and in vivo approaches, including mammalian two-hybrid, in vitro glutathione S-transferase pulldown, and copurification assays. Results from functional analysis indicate that mZnf8 is a nuclear transcriptional repressor. Overexpression of mZnf8 represses activity of BMP and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) reporters. Silencing the expression of endogenous mZnf8 with an RNA interference approach caused a significant increase in the expression of one BMP reporter. These results suggest that mZnf8 negatively regulates the TGF-beta/BMP signaling pathway in vivo. Transcription of mZnf8 is ubiquitous in mouse embryos, but high levels are specifically observed in adult mouse testes, with the same cell- and stage-specific transcription pattern as Smad1. Our data support the hypothesis that mZnf8 plays critical roles in mediating BMP signaling during spermatogenesis.

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