Send to

Choose Destination
Gene Expr Patterns. 2014 Jan;14(1):19-29. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2013.10.001. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Dynamic expression of the vertebrate-specific protein Nucks during rodent embryonic development.

Author information

Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Panepistimioupoli, 15701 Ilissia, Greece. Electronic address:
Laboratory of Histology and Embryology, Medical School, University of Athens, 75 Mikras Asias Str., 11527 Goudi, Greece.
Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, PO Box 1112, Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway.
Hematology/Oncology Division, Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens, 11527 Athens, Greece.
Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Panepistimioupoli, 15701 Ilissia, Greece.


The nuclear casein kinase and cyclin-dependent kinase substrate 1 (NUCKS) is a highly phosphorylated nuclear protein that is overexpressed in many types of cancer. The flexibility of NUCKS and its extensive posttranslational modifications indicate that it is multifunctional, and its expression in most cell types suggests a housekeeping function. However, spatiotemporal expression of the Nucks protein during rodent development has not been reported. Thus, we investigated the expression of both the Nucks mRNA and protein during rat and mouse development by immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, Western immunoblotting, and reverse-transcription PCR analysis. We also used BLAST analysis against expressed sequence tag databases to determine whether a NUCKS homologue is expressed in invertebrate organisms. We found that Nucks expression increased during the initial stages of embryonic development, and then gradually decreased until birth in all tissues except the nervous tissue and muscle fibers. Interestingly, the expression of Nucks was very strong in migrating neural crest cells at E13.5 and ectoderm-derived tissues. In most tissues analyzed, the levels of Nucks correlated with the levels of Bax and activated caspase-3, which are indicative of apoptosis. Moreover, Nucks was upregulated very early during neuronal apoptosis in vitro. Expression analysis revealed that no transcript with close homology to the Nucks gene was present in invertebrates. The expression of Nucks in both proliferating and quiescent cells and its correlation with Bax levels and apoptosis strongly suggest that Nucks plays complex roles in cell homeostasis. Furthermore, the lack of homology in invertebrate organisms indicates a specific role for Nucks in vertebrate embryogenesis.


Apoptosis; Bax; NUCKS; Neural crest; Neural development

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center