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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 134764, 9 pages
Research Article

Identification, Characterization, and Effects of Xenopus laevis PNAS-4 Gene on Embryonic Development

1State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy and Cancer Center, West China Hospital, West China Medical School, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China
2The Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Gene and Antibody Therapy, Center for Biotech and Bio-Medicine and Division of Life Sciences, Graduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
3Paul Lauterbur Center for Biomedical Imaging, Institute of Biomedical and Health Engineering, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen 518055, China

Received 15 July 2009; Revised 1 November 2009; Accepted 1 March 2010

Academic Editor: Kenneth L. White

Copyright © 2010 Fei Yan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Apoptosis plays an important role in embryonic development. PNAS-4 has been demonstrated to induce apoptosis in several cancer cells. In this study, we cloned Xenopus laevis PNAS-4 (xPNAS-4), which is homologous to the human PNAS-4 gene. Bioinformatics analysis for PNAS-4 indicated that xPNAS-4 shared 87.6% identity with human PNAS-4 and 85.5% with mouse PNAS-4. The phylogenetic tree of PNAS-4 protein was also summarized. An analysis of cellular localization using an EGFP-fused protein demonstrated that xPNAS-4 was localized in the perinuclear region of the cytoplasm. RT-PCR analysis revealed that xPNAS-4, as a maternally expressed gene, was present in all stages of early embryo development. Whole-mount in situ hybridization showed that xPNAS-4 was mainly expressed in ectoderm and mesoderm. Furthermore, microinjection of xPNAS-4 mRNA in vivo caused developmental defects manifesting as a small eye phenotype in the Xenopous embryos, and as a small eye or one-eye phenotype in developing zebrafish embryos. In addition, embryos microinjected with xPNAS-4 antisense morpholino oligonucleotides (MOs) exhibited a failure of head development and shortened axis.