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DEFT, a novel death effector domain-containing molecule predominantly expressed in testicular germ cells.

Authors: Leo, CP  Hsu, SY  McGee, EA  Salanova, M  Hsueh, AJ 
Citation: Leo CP, etal., Endocrinology 1998 Dec;139(12):4839-48.
Pubmed: (View Article at PubMed) PMID:9832420
DOI: Full-text: DOI:10.1210/endo.139.12.6335

Apoptosis is a physiological process by which multicellular organisms eliminate unwanted cells. Death factors such as Fas ligand induce apoptosis by triggering a series of intracellular protein-protein interactions mediated by defined motifs found in the signaling molecules. One of these motifs is the death effector domain (DED), a stretch of about 80 amino acids that is shared by adaptors, regulators, and executors of the death factor pathway. We have identified the human and rat complementary DNAs encoding a novel protein termed DEFT (Death EFfector domain-containing Testicular molecule). The N-terminus of DEFT shows a high degree of homology to the DEDs found in FADD (an adaptor molecule) as well as procaspase-8/FLICE and procaspase-10/Mch4 (executors of the death program). Northern blot hybridization experiments have shown that the DEFT messenger RNA (mRNA) is expressed in a variety of human and rat tissues, with particularly abundant expression in the testis. In situ hybridization analysis further indicated the expression of DEFT mRNA in meiotic male germ cells. In a model of germ cell apoptosis induction, an increase in testis DEFT mRNA was found in immature rats after 2 days of treatment with a GnRH antagonist. Unlike FADD and procaspase-8/FLICE, overexpression of DEFT did not induce apoptosis in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Although cotransfection studies indicated that DEFT is incapable of modulating apoptosis effected by FADD and procaspase-8/FLICE, interactions between DEFT and uncharacterized DED-containing molecules in the testis remain to be studied in the future. In conclusion, we have identified a novel DED-containing protein with high expression in testis germ cells. This protein may be important in the regulation of death factor-induced apoptosis in the testis and other tissues.


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CRRD Object Information
CRRD ID: 632570
Created: 2003-08-29
Species: All species
Last Modified: 2006-04-25
Status: ACTIVE


RGD is funded by grant HL64541 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on behalf of the NIH.