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Oncogene. 1999 Jan 14;18(2):353-64.

Elf3 encodes a novel 200-kD beta-spectrin: role in liver development.

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Laboratory of Developmental Molecular Biology, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC 20422, USA.


beta-spectrins are crucial for the maintenance of cell shape, the establishment of cell polarity, and the formation of distinct membrane domains. Our strategy for identifying genes important for hepatocyte polarity has been to utilize subtractive hybridization of early embryonic mouse cDNA liver libraries. As a result, we have cloned three isoforms of a novel beta-spectrin elf (embryonic liver beta-fodrin), and here we report the analysis of elf3, the longest isoform (8172 nt). ELF3 comprises 2154 residues with an overall similarity of 89.0% and 95.3% to mouse beta-spectrin (betaSpIIsigma1) at the nucleotide and amino acid level, respectively. ELF3 is characterized by an actin-binding domain, a long repeat domain, and a short regulatory domain remarkable for the absence of a PH domain. Linkage analysis reveals that elf3 maps to mouse chromosome 11 between D11Bir6 and D11Xrf477, a different chromosomal locus from that of the other four spectrin genes. Northern blot analysis utilizing an elf3 3'-UTR probe demonstrates an abundant 9.0-kb transcript in brain, liver, and heart tissues. Western blot with a polyclonal antibody against ELF identifies a 200 kD protein in mouse liver, brain, kidney, and heart tissues. Immunohistochemical studies demonstrate ELF labeling of the basolateral or sinusoidal membranes surface as well as a granular cytoplasmic pattern in hepatocytes. Antisense studies utilizing cultured liver explants show a vital role of elf3 in hepatocyte differentiation and intrahepatic bile duct formation. The differential expression, tissue localization, and functional studies demonstrate the importance of elf3 in modulating interactions between various components of the cytoskeleton proteins controlling liver and bile duct development.

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