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Genes Dev. 1989 Apr;3(4):572-83.

xlgv7: a maternal gene product localized in nuclei of the central nervous system in Xenopus laevis.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030.


The Xenopus oocyte nucleus (GV) is a storehouse for a large number of proteins that are used during early development. We have cloned and characterized a cDNA coding for a maternal gene product that is localized in the GV and then becomes highly enriched in the nuclei of the central nervous system (CNS) of tadpoles and adult frogs. This cDNA (xlgv7) is 2.1 kb and hybridizes to a 2.4-kb RNA species on Northern blots. Southern blots of genomic DNA suggest that this gene is a member of a multigene family. The cDNA sequence reveals a long open reading frame (ORF) of 1773 nucleotides, with a putative nuclear targeting signal (Glu Arg Arg Lys Lys Lys Thr) at the extreme carboxyl terminus and an internal histidine (His)-rich region with a repeated conserved amino acid sequence between His pairs. The significance of this region is unclear, but the protein is a DNA-binding protein, and it is possible that this region is involved in this function. The xlgv7 protein also possesses a putative nucleotide-binding consensus sequence that is similar to the bacterial RecA and RecB and yeast RAD proteins. Protein xlgv7 exists as several isotypes that exhibit developmental and cell-specific changes during development. Northern blot analysis of the abundance of the xlgv7 mRNA shows an accumulation following neural induction at stages 15-16. There is a transient expression of the mRNA in the gut of tadpoles. In the adult, the mRNA is highly enriched in the brain and is absent or in very low abundance in other tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis of the protein shows that the protein is localized in the nuclei of the brain cells. We conclude that the xlgv7 gene product is a maternal protein that may serve several important functions, one of which may be in the development and maintanance of the CNS.

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