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

Expression of ZAKI-4 messenger ribonucleic acid in the brain during rat development and the effect of hypothyroidism.

We identified ZAKI-4 (also designated as DSCR1L1) as a thyroid hormone responsive gene in cultured human skin fibroblasts. Recently it has been reported that ZAKI-4 belongs to an evolutionary conserved family of proteins that function as calcineurin inhibitor. In human, ZAKI-4 and calcineurin are highly expressed in brain, where thyroid hormones play essential roles in the development during fetal and neonatal periods. In the present study, we examined the temporal and spatial expression patterns of ZAKI-4 messenger RNA (mRNA) in control and hypothyroid rat brains. Northern blot analysis revealed that ZAKI-4 mRNA was detected in both cerebral cortex and cerebellum as early as embryonic day (E)18. In the cerebral cortex, the expression level gradually increased with age, reaching a plateau at postnatal day (P)7 and remained constant thereafter until P30. A similar pattern of increase with age was also observed in hypothyroid rats; however, the magnitude of the increase was significantly reduced. In control rats, the fold increase in ZAKI-4 mRNA level from E18 to P17 was 10.8; whereas in hypothyroid rats, it was 7. 4. In cerebellum the expression level did not change with age or by thyroid status. In situ hybridization revealed that ZAKI-4 mRNA is widely expressed in neurons throughout the brain. It is noteworthy that the expression in the neurons of layer VI of the cerebral cortex was more evident in control rats than that in hypothyroid rats from P17 to P30. Though not influenced by hypothyroidism, there were several regions of the brain in which ZAKI-4 mRNA was strongly expressed. These regions were the mitral cell layer of the olfactory bulb, the substantia nigra, and the hippocampus, where calcineurin is also abundantly expressed. Therefore, it may be hypothesized that ZAKI-4 plays an important role in the development and function of the brain by modulating calcineurin function; and decrease in ZAKI-4 mRNA expression in the specific brain areas may explain, in some parts, the mechanism of abnormal brain development by hypothyroidism.[1]


  1. Expression of ZAKI-4 messenger ribonucleic acid in the brain during rat development and the effect of hypothyroidism. Siddiq, A., Miyazaki, T., Takagishi, Y., Kanou, Y., Hayasaka, S., Inouye, M., Seo, H., Murata, Y. Endocrinology (2001) [Pubmed]
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