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J Biol Chem. 1996 Jan 12;271(2):1043-7.

The mouse zic gene family. Homologues of the Drosophila pair-rule gene odd-paired.

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Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Tsukuba Life Science Center, Ibaraki, Japan.


The mouse Zic gene, which encodes a zinc finger protein, is expressed in the developing or matured central nervous system in a highly restricted manner. We identified two novel Zic-related genes (Zic2, Zic3) through genomic and cDNA cloning. Both genes are highly similar to Zic(1), especially in their zinc finger motif. A comparison of genomic organization among the three Zic genes showed that they share common exon-intron boundaries and belong to the same gene family . Zic1, Zic2, and Zic3 were determined to mouse chromosome 9, 14, and X using an interspecific backcross panel. Northern blotting and ribonuclease protection showed that Zic2 and Zic3 are expressed in a restricted manner in the cerebellum at the adult stage. However, the temporal profile of the mRNA expression in the developing cerebella differ in the three Zic genes. Furthermore, we found that the Drosophila pair-rule gene, odd-paired is highly homologous to the Zic gene family. The similarity was not only the zinc finger motif, but also the exon-intron boundary was the same as those of mouse Zic gene family. These findings suggest that the Zic gene family and Drosophila odd-paired are derived from a common ancestral gene.

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