FTZ-F1, a member of the orphan nuclear receptors, is a transcriptional factor regulating the expression of the fushi tarazu gene in Drosophila (Lavorgna et al., 1991. Science 252, 848-851). Previously, we cloned a frog homologue of FTZ-F1 (rrFTZ-F1α; GenBank Accession No. AB035498). In this study, we isolated the rrFTZ-F1β cDNA encoding a protein of 469 amino acids. Then, expressions of two types (α and β) of rrFTZ-F1 mRNAs were examined during development of embryos and gonads in the frog Rana rugosa. They were expressed in the embryo at stage 12. Expressions of both the α and β mRNAs became stronger in the testis of frogs at stage XXV and were most prominent in that of frogs 2 months after metamorphosis. In the former testis, spermatogonia were the only germ cells in the seminiferous tubules, whilst postmeiotic cells were observed in the latter testis. Expression of the typea mRNA was more prominent. In addition, we cloned the regions with either exon I or II of the rrFTZ-F1 gene. Genomic structure analysis revealed that rrFTZ-F1β is a partial exon I-truncated variant of rrFTZ-F1α. The results suggest that rrFTZ-F1α and -β are expressed from the same gene by alternative splicing and that they may play an important role(s) in differentiation of premeiotic germ cells in the testis of the frog R. rugosa. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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