The medaka FoxP2, a homologue of human language gene FOXP2, has a diverged structure and function

Tatsuo Itakura, Abhishek Chandra, Zhi Yang, Xiaodong Xue, Bo Wang, Wataru Kimura, Keisuke Hikosaka, Keiji Inohaya, Akira Kudo, Tadayoshi Uezato, Naoyuki Miura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Forkhead box (Fox) genes are involved in organogenesis and cell differentiation. A mutation of FOXP2 was discovered in patients with severe defects in speech and language. The medaka FoxP2 was cloned in order to clarify the molecular evolution and difference in the protein structure and function by comparing human/mouse and medaka genes. The result showed that medaka FoxP2 had a 73.7% homology to the human and mouse counterparts, and its zinc finger, leucine zipper and forkhead domain structures were conserved. However, medaka FoxP2 lacked a long polyglutamine repeat and had two insertions of unique amino acid sequences. FoxP2 expression was found in the epiphysis and retina, in addition to the midbrain and cerebellum. The transcriptional assay revealed that medaka FoxP2 showed a very weak repressive activity to the CC10 promoter while mouse Foxp2 exhibited a strong repressive activity. Mutational analyses of medaka FoxP2 showed that the three amino acids of forkhead domain were responsible for the weak repressive activity. These results suggest that medaka FoxP2 may play a different function in the development of the medaka fish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-416
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Forkhead domain
  • FoxP2
  • Language gene
  • Medaka
  • Molecular evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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