Nlz1/Znf703 acts as a repressor of transcription

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology; Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


BACKGROUND: Members of the NET subfamily of zinc-finger proteins are related to the Sp-family of transcription factors and are required during embryogenesis. In particular, Nlz1/Znf703 and Nlz2/Znf503 are required for formation of rhombomere 4 of the vertebrate hindbrain. While NET family proteins have been hypothesized to regulate transcription, it remains unclear if they function as activators or repressors of transcription.

RESULTS: Here we demonstrate that Nlz proteins repress transcription both in cell lines and in developing zebrafish embryos. We first use standard cell culture-based reporter assays to demonstrate that Nlz1/Znf703 represses transcription of a luciferase reporter in four different cell lines. Structure-function analyses and pharmacological inhibition further reveal that Nlz1-mediated repression requires histone deacetylase activity. We next generate a stable transgenic zebrafish reporter line to demonstrate that Nlz1 promotes histone deacetylation at the transgenic promoter and repression of transgene expression during embryogenesis. Lastly, taking a genetic approach we find that endogenous Nlz proteins are required for formation of hindbrain rhombomere 4 during zebrafish embryogenesis by repressing expression of non-rhombomere 4 genes.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that Nlz1/Znf703 acts as a repressor of transcription and hypothesize that other NET family members function in a similar manner.

DOI of Published Version



BMC Dev Biol. 2008 Nov 12;8:108. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

BMC developmental biology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID