Faculty Research 1990 - 1999

The mouse cornichon gene family.

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Amino Acid Sequence, Animal, Egg Proteins/*genetics, Fetal Development/*genetics, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Genes, Insect, In Situ Hybridization, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Multigene Family, Sequence Alignment, Transcription, Genetic

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Dev Genes Evol 1999 Feb;209(2):120-5


RO3HD35252/HD/NICHD, P30CA34196/CA/NCI, RO1LM05110/LM/NLM


As part of a large scale mouse Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) project to identify molecules involved in the initiation of mammalian development, a homolog of the Drosophila cornichon gene was detected as a mouse maternal transcript present in the two-cell embryo. Cornichon is a multigene family in the mouse: the new gene, Cnih, maps to mouse chromosome 10, another cornichon homolog, Cnil, maps to chromosome 14 and two additional cornichon-related loci, possibly pseudogenes, localize to chromosomes 3 and 10, respectively. Cnih encodes an open reading frame (ORF) of 144 amino acids that is 93% homologous (68% identical) to the Drosophila protein, whereas the ORF of Cnil contains two extra polypeptide regions not found in these other proteins. Transcripts of Cnih are highly abundant in the full grown oocyte and the ovulated unfertilized egg, while Cnil message is only detectable after activation of the embryonic genome at the eight-cell stage. In situ hybridization shows specific localization of Cnih transcripts to ovarian oocytes. The lack of cytoplasmic polyadenylation of the maternally inherited Cnih transcript suggests that Cnih mRNA is translated in the full grown oocyte before, but not after, ovulation. In Drosophila, cornichon is involved in the establishment of both anterior-posterior and dorso-ventral polarity via the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-receptor signaling pathway. Finding Cnih in the mammalian oocyte opens a new perspective on the investigation of EGF-signaling in the oocyte.

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