Localization of HB9 homeodomain protein and characterization of its nuclear localization signal during chick embryonic skin development


We detected HB9 protein during tarsometatarsal scale skin and late feather development. Immunofluorescent analyses with N-terminal 14 amino acids antiserum revealed that HB9 was strongly expressed in epidermal basal cells of the outer scale face in tarsometatarsal scale skin. Specific expression was also detected in dermal cells at the root region of the feather and around the feather follicle. Furthermore, we observed precise distribution of HB9 protein by immunoelectron microscopy. We detected HB9 protein not only in the nucleus, but also in the cytoplasm in tarsometatarsal scale skin. However, in feather skin HB9 protein was found in the nucleus but not in the cytoplasm. Cytoplasmic localization of HB9 protein in tarsometatarsal scale skin was observed especially in the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. To address the mechanism of nuclear–cytoplasmic translocation, we determined the nuclear localization signal (NLS) sequences by using eukaryotic green fluorescent protein fusion protein in primary keratinocyte culture. Chick HB9 homeoprotein has two types of the NLS sequences in its homeodomain. One of them is a bipartite type as representatively found in Xenopus nucleoplasmin. The other is very similar to hexapeptide NLS sequences identified in pancreatic duodenum homeobox 1 (PDX1). These sequences functioned not only in keratinocytes but also in dermal fibroblasts. They are conserved in Xenopus, mouse, and human HB9 ortholog. These results indicate that HB9 protein might be involved in chick tarsometatarsal scale and feather development and that nuclear import of HB9 protein might be regulated by these NLS sequences in the homeodomain.

DOI: 10.1007/s00418-004-0698-5

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@article{Kosaka2004LocalizationOH, title={Localization of HB9 homeodomain protein and characterization of its nuclear localization signal during chick embryonic skin development}, author={Yasuhiro Kosaka and Yoshihiro Akimoto and Keiichi Yokozawa and Akiko Obinata and Hiroshi Hirano}, journal={Histochemistry and Cell Biology}, year={2004}, volume={122}, pages={237-247} }