Murine NFX.1: isolation and characterization of its messenger RNA, mapping of its chromosomal location and assessment of its developmental expression


Professor S. J. Ono, Department of Immunology, University College London, Institute of Ophthalmology, 11–43 Bath Street, London EC1V 9EL, UK. E-mail:


We have previously isolated (by expression cloning) a human cDNA, termed NFX.1, encoding a nucleic acid-binding protein that interacts with the conserved X1 box cis-element first discovered in class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes. Functional studies involving expression of NFX.1 and assessment of expression from class II reporter constructs and endogenous class II MHC genes indicated that the factor could repress transcription of class II MHC genes. Subsequent studies have extended the biological significance of the factor, indicating that it plays an important role in neuronal development. Indeed, the reiterated RING finger motifs in the central domain of the polypeptide strongly suggest that NF-XI is a probable E3 ubiquitin protein ligase, indicating that the protein may have multiple activities. Here we report the cloning of the mouse homologue of the human NfX.1 cDNA: m-Nfx.1. Comparison of the deduced primary sequence of mouse and human NFX.1 proteins shows very high homology and confirms that m-NFX.1 contains the conserved cysteine-rich DNA-binding motif first described in human NFX.1 (95% homology). Expression of MHC class II genes is substantially reduced following expression of m-NFX.1, which confirms that we have isolated the functional murine homologue of human NfX.1 cDNA. Further evidence comes from the mapping of m-Nfx.1 gene to the proximal region of mouse chromosome 4, a region syntenic to the location of human Nfx.1 (short arm of chromosome 9). Expression profiling shows that m-NFX.1 is expressed ubiquitously in both adult tissues and during development, supporting the hypothesis that it may have yet-undescribed roles in distinct biological processes.