Genetic ablation of the CDP/Cux protein C terminus results in hair cycle defects and reduced male fertility

Mai X. Luong, Caroline M. Van der Meijden, Dong Xia Xing, Ruth Hesselton, Edwin S. Monuki, Stephen N. Jones, Jane B. Lian, Janet L. Stein, Gary S. Stein, Ellis J. Neufeld, Andre J. Van Wijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Murine CDP/Cux, a homologue of the Drosophila Cut homeoprotein, modulates the promoter activity of cell cycle-related and cell-type-specific genes. CDP/Cux interacts with histone gene promoters as the DNA binding subunit of a large nuclear complex (HiNF-D). CDP/Cux is a ubiquitous protein containing four conserved DNA binding domains: three Cut repeats and a homeodomain. In this study, we analyzed genetically targeted mice (Cutl1tm2Ejn, referred to as ΔC) that express a mutant CDP/Cux protein with a deletion of the C terminus, including the homeodomain. In comparison to the wild-type protein, indirect immunofluorescence showed that the mutant protein exhibited significantly reduced nuclear localization. Consistent with these data, DNA binding activity of HiNF-D was lost in nuclear extracts derived from mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) or adult tissues of homozygous mutant (ΔC-/-) mice, indicating the functional loss of CDP/Cux protein in the nucleus. No significant difference in growth characteristics or total histone H4 mRNA levels was observed between wild-type and ΔC-/- MEFs in culture. However, specific histone genes (H4.1 and HI) containing CDP/Cux binding sites have reduced expression levels in homozygous mutant MEFs. Stringent control of growth and differentiation appears to be compromised in vivo. Homozygous mutant mice have stunted growth (20 to 50% weight reduction), a high postnatal death rate of 60 to 70%, sparse abnormal coat hair, and severely reduced fertility. The deregulated hair cycle and severely diminished fertility in Cutl1tm2Ejn/tm2Ejn mice suggest that CDP/Cux is required for the developmental control of dermal and reproductive functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1424-1437
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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