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Investigation of tissue-specific expression and functions of MLF1-IP during development and in the immune system.

Wang X., Marcinkiewicz M., Gatain Y., Bouchard M., Mao J., Tremblay M., Uetani N., Hanissian S., Qi S., Wu J., Luo H.

Myeloid leukemia factor 1-interacting protein (MLF1-IP) has been found to exert functions in mitosis, although studies have been conducted only in cell lines up to now. To understand its roles during ontogeny and immunity, we analyzed its mRNA expression pattern by in situ hybridization and generated MLF1-IP gene knockout (KO) mice. MLF1-IP was expressed at elevated levels in most rudimentary tissues during the mid-gestation stage, between embryonic day 9.5 (e9.5) and e15.5. It declined afterwards in these tissues, but was very high in the testes and ovaries in adulthood. At post-natal day 10 (p10), the retina and cerebellum still expressed moderate MLF1-IP levels, although these tissues do not contain fast-proliferating cells at this stage. MLF1-IP expression in lymphoid organs, such as the thymus, lymph nodes, spleen and bone marrow, was high between e15.5 and p10, and decreased in adulthood. MLF1-IP KO embryos failed to develop beyond e6.5. On the other hand, MLF1-IP(+/-) mice were alive and fertile, with no obvious anomalies. Lymphoid organ size, weight, cellularity and cell sub-populations in MLF1-IP(+/-) mice were in the normal range. The functions of MLF1-IP(+/-) T cells and naïve CD4 cells, in terms of TCR-stimulated proliferation and Th1, Th17 and Treg cell differentiation in vitro, were comparable to those of wild type T cells. Our study demonstrates that MLF1-IP performs unique functions during mouse embryonic development, particularly around e6.5, when there was degeneration of epiblasts. However, the cells could proliferate dozens of rounds without MLF1-IP. MLF1-IP expression at about 50% of its normal level is sufficient to sustain mice life and the development of their immune system without apparent abnormalities. Our results also raise an intriguing question that MLF1-IP might have additional functions unrelated to cell proliferation.

PLoS ONE 8:e63783-e63783(2013) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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