Basonuclin 2 has a function in the multiplication of embryonic craniofacial mesenchymal cells and is orthologous to disco proteins.

Unité Propre de Recherche 2228 du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Paris Descartes, 75006 Paris, France.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 09/2009; 106(34):14432-7. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0905840106
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Basonuclin 2 is a recently discovered zinc finger protein of unknown function. Its paralog, basonuclin 1, is associated with the ability of keratinocytes to multiply. The basonuclin zinc fingers are closely related to those of the Drosophila proteins disco and discorelated, but the relation between disco proteins and basonuclins has remained elusive because the function of the disco proteins in larval head development seems to have no relation to that of basonuclin 1 and because the amino acid sequence of disco, apart from the zinc fingers, also has no similarity to that of the basonuclins. We have generated mice lacking basonuclin 2. These mice die within 24 h of birth with a cleft palate and abnormalities of craniofacial bones and tongue. In the embryonic head, expression of the basonuclin 2 gene is restricted to mesenchymal cells in the palate, at the periphery of the tongue, and in the mesenchymal sheaths that surround the brain and the osteocartilagineous structures. In late embryos, the rate of multiplication of these mesenchymal cells is greatly diminished. Therefore, basonuclin 2 is essential for the multiplication of craniofacial mesenchymal cells during embryogenesis. Non-Drosophila insect databases available since 2008 reveal that the basonuclins and the disco proteins share much more extensive sequence and gene structure similarity than noted when only Drosophila sequences were examined. We conclude that basonuclin 2 is both structurally and functionally the vertebrate ortholog of the disco proteins. We also note the possibility that some human craniofacial abnormalities are due to a lack of basonuclin 2.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) found to be statistically significant when associated with human diseases and other phenotypes are most often located in non-coding regions of the genome. One example is rs10765819 located in the first intron of the BNC2 gene previously associated with (saturation of) human skin color. Here we demonstrate that a nearby intergenic SNP (rs12350739) in high linkage disequilibrium with rs10756819 is likely the causal DNA variant for the observed BNC2 skin color association. The highly-conserved region surrounding rs12350739 functions as an enhancer element regulating BNC2 transcription in human melanocytes, while the activity of this enhancer element depends on the allelic status of rs12350739. When the rs12350739-AA allele is present, the chromatin at the region surrounding rs12350739 is inaccessible and the enhancer element is only slightly active, resulting in low expression of BNC2, corresponding with light skin pigmentation. When the rs12350739-GG allele is present however, the chromatin at the region surrounding rs12350739 is more accessible and the enhancer is active, resulting in a higher expression of BNC2, corresponding with dark skin pigmentation. Overall, we demonstrate the identification of the functional DNA variant that explains the BNC2 skin color association signal, providing another important step towards further understanding human pigmentation genetics beyond statistical association. We thus deliver a clear example of how an intergenic non-coding DNA variant modulates the regulatory potential of the enhancer element it is located within, which in turn results in allele-dependent differential gene expression affecting variation in common human traits.
    Human Molecular Genetics 06/2014; DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu289 · 6.68 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Freckles, the lay term for ephelides and lentigines, are important pigmentation characteristics observed in humans. Both are affected by sunlight; ephelides are largely genetically determined but induced by sunlight whereas lentigines are induced by sun exposure and photodamage of the skin. However, despite being commonly observed, we know very little about them. Here we review the current status of knowledge about freckles and propose a model for their formation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research 02/2014; DOI:10.1111/pcmr.12232 · 5.84 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Absence of mitosis and meiosis are distinguishing properties of male germ cells during late fetal and early neonatal periods. Repressors of male germ cell meiosis have been identified, but mitotic repressors are largely unknown, and no protein repressing both meiosis and mitosis is known. We demonstrate here that the zinc-finger protein BNC2 is present in male but not in female germ cells. In testis, BNC2 exists as several spliced isoforms and presumably binds to DNA. Within the male germ cell lineage, BNC2 is restricted to prospermatogonia and undifferentiated spermatogonia. Fetal prospermatogonia that lack BNC2 multiply excessively on embryonic day (E)14.5 and reenter the cell cycle prematurely. Mutant prospermatogonia also engage in abnormal meiosis; on E17.5, Bnc2(-/-) prospermatogonia start synthesizing the synaptonemal protein SYCP3, and by the time of birth, many Bnc2(-/-) prospermatogonia have accumulated large amounts of nonfilamentous SYCP3, thus appearing to be blocked at leptonema. Bnc2(-/-) prospermatogonia do not undergo proper male differentiation, as they lack almost all the mRNA for the male-specific methylation protein DNMT3L and have increased levels of mRNAs that encode meiotic proteins, including STRA8. Bnc2(-/-) prospermatogonia can produce spermatogonia, but these enter meiosis prematurely and undergo massive apoptotic death during meiotic prophase. This study identifies BNC2 as a major regulator of male germ stem cells, which is required for repression of meiosis and mitosis in prospermatogonia, and for meiosis progression during spermatogenesis. In view of the extreme evolutionary conservation of BNC2, the findings described here are likely to apply to many species.
    Development 10/2014; DOI:10.1242/dev.112888 · 6.27 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 10, 2014