NET family members have recently emerged as important players in the development of multiple structures, from the trachea of fly larvae to the vertebrate eye and human breast cancers. However, their mechanisms of action are still poorly understood, and we lack a detailed characterization of their functional domains, as well as gene expression patterns—particularly in adult mammals. Here, we present a characterization of human NLZ1/ZNF703 (NocA-like zinc finger 1/Zinc finger 703), one of the two human NET family member genes. We show that the gene is ubiquitously expressed in adult human and mouse tissues, that three mRNA species with the same coding sequence are generated by alternative polyadenylation, and that the encoded protein contains six evolutionarily conserved domains, three of which are specific to NET proteins. Finally, we present functional evidence that these domains are necessary for proper subcellular distribution of and transcription repression by the NLZ1 protein, but not for its interaction with Groucho family co-repressors. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 120–133, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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