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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Midkine is expressed early in rat fetal adrenal development.

Adrenal gland development is complex and poorly understood at the molecular level. Only a subset of patients with adrenal hypoplasia congenita (AHC) carry mutations in DAX1, a member of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily. Therefore we set out to identify other candidate genes responsible for AHC by characterizing genes involved in fetal adrenal development. To identify these genes, we studied the differential expression of genes in fetal rat adrenals comparing tissues at 14 and 15 days postcoitum (dpc) since this period encompasses major morphological change in rat adrenal development. Fetal rat adrenals were dissected, cDNAs were prepared, and suppressive subtractive hybridization was performed. We isolated 126 clones of putatively differentially expressed clones and approximately 250 bp of each of the clones was sequenced. The most interesting putative developmental genes were examined. One member of the extracellular PTN/MDK (pleiotrophin/midkine) heparin-binding protein family involved in regulation of growth and differentiation was selected for initial study. We obtained full-length transcript by 3' rapid amplification of cDNA ends and performed Northern analysis on rat adrenal RNA from fetuses at 13, 14, 15, 17, and 19 dpc and newborns. Results from those analyses demonstrated the highest Mdk expression at days 13 and 14 followed by a moderate decrease of expression during the fetal stages thereafter. In the newborn, Mdk expression is nearly undetectable. Our results indicate that Mdk has a very specific pattern of fetal expression in the adrenals. We conclude that Mdk is involved early in fetal development of the rat adrenal. Therefore, MDK is a candidate gene for AHC not due to DAX1 mutations.[1]


  1. Midkine is expressed early in rat fetal adrenal development. Dewing, P., Ching, S.T., Zhang, Y.H., Huang, B.L., Peirce, R.M., McCabe, E.R., Vilain, E. Mol. Genet. Metab. (2000) [Pubmed]
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