• Gene expression;
  • Differential display;
  • Denervation;
  • Hemidiaphragm;
  • RNA binding protein and screening


Denervation of skeletal muscle alters the expression of many genes, which may be important for establishing optimal conditions for reinnervation. Using the differential display technique we have attempted to discover neurally regulated genes in skeletal muscle. An mRNA that is up-regulated in denervated hind limb muscle was identified and cloned. The cDNA encodes an RNA-binding protein, which was discovered during the course of this work to be a nucleolar protein interacting with the fork-head associated domain of the proliferation marker protein Ki-67, and named NIFK. We show that the nifk gene is widely expressed in adult mouse tissues and that the expression is up-regulated in denervated hind limb muscle. No difference between expression in perisynaptic and extrasynaptic portions of muscle was observed. The widespread expression in adult tissues suggests that the NIFK protein has other functions in addition to its interaction with Ki-67, which is only expressed in proliferating cells.