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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 25;8(4):e62314. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062314. Print 2013.

Tzfp represses the androgen receptor in mouse testis.

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Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience, Department of Microbiology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


The testis zinc finger protein (Tzfp), also known as Repressor of GATA, belongs to the BTB/POZ zinc finger family of transcription factors and is thought to play a role in spermatogenesis due to its remarkably high expression in testis. Despite many attempts to find the in vivo role of the protein, the molecular function is still largely unknown. Here, we address this issue using a novel mouse model with a disrupted Tzfp gene. Homozygous Tzfp null mice are born at reduced frequency but appear viable and fertile. Sertoli cells in testes lacking Tzfp display an increase in Androgen Receptor (AR) signaling, and several genes in the testis, including Gata1, Aie1 and Fanc, show increased expression. Our results indicate that Tzfp function as a transcriptional regulator and that loss of the protein leads to alterations in AR signaling and reduced number of apoptotic cells in the testicular tubules.

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