Activation of transcriptional activity of HSE by a novel mouse zinc finger protein ZNFD specifically expressed in testis.
ABSTRACT Zinc finger proteins (ZFPs) that contain multiple cysteine and/or histidine residues perform important roles in various cellular functions, including transcriptional regulation, cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. The Cys-Cys-His-His (C(2)H(2)) type of ZFPs are the well-defined members of this super family and are the largest and most complex proteins in eukaryotic genomes. In this study, we identified a novel C(2)H(2) type of zinc finger gene ZNFD from mice which has a 1,002 bp open reading frame and encodes a protein with 333 amino acid residues. The predicted 37.4 kDa protein contains a C(2)H(2) zinc finger domain. ZNFD gene is located on chromosome 18qD1. RT-PCR analysis revealed that the ZNFD gene was specifically expressed in mouse testis but not in other tissues. Subcellular localization analysis demonstrated that ZNFD was localized in the nucleus. Reporter gene assays showed that overexpression of ZNFD in the COS7 cells activates the transcriptional activities of heat shock element (HSE). Overall, these results suggest that ZNFD is a member of the zinc finger transcription factor family and it participates in the transcriptional regulation of HSE. Many heat shock proteins regulated by HSE are involved in testicular development. Therefore, our results suggest that ZNFD may probably participate in the development of mouse testis and function as a transcription activator in HSE-mediated gene expression and signaling pathways.