Alternative Promoter Usage and Splicing of ZNF74 Multifinger Gene Produce Protein Isoforms with a Different Repressor Activity and Nuclear Partitioning

C�t�, Francine; Boisvert, Fran�ois-Michel; Grondin, Beno�t; Bazinet, Martine; Goodyer, Cynthia G.; Bazett-Jones, David P.; Aubry, Muriel
March 2001
DNA & Cell Biology;Mar2001, Vol. 20 Issue 3, p159
Academic Journal
We have previously shown that ZNF74, a candidate gene for DiGeorge syndrome, encodes a developmentally expressed zinc finger gene of the Kruppel-associated box (KRAB) multifinger subfamily. Using RACE, RT-PCR, and primer extension on human fetal brain and heart mRNAs, we here demonstrate the existence of six mRNA variants resulting from alternative promoter usage and splicing. These transcripts encode four protein isoforms differing at their N terminus by the composition of their KRAB motif. One isoform, ZNF74-I, which corresponds to the originally cloned cDNA, was found to be encoded by two additional mRNA variants. This isoform, which contains a KRAB motif lacking the N terminus of the KRAB A box, was devoid of transcriptional activity. In contrast, ZNF74-II, a newly identified form of the protein that is encoded by a single transcript and contains an intact KRAB domain with full A and B boxes, showed strong repressor activity. Deconvolution immunofluorescence microscopy using transfected human neuroblastoma cells and nonimmortalized HS68 fibroblasts revealed a distinct subcellular distribution for ZNF74-I and ZNF74-II. In contrast to ZNF74-I, which largely colocalizes with SC-35 in nuclear speckles enriched in splicing factors, the transcriptionally active ZNF74-II had a more diffuse nuclear distribution that is more characteristic of transcriptional regulators. Taken with the previously described RNA-binding activity of ZNF74-I and direct interaction with a hyperphosphorylated form of the RNA polymerase II participating in pre-mRNA processing, our results suggest that the two ZNF74 isoforms exert different or complementary roles in RNA maturation and in transcriptional regulation.


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