RP58/ZNF238 directly modulates proneurogenic gene levels and is required for neuronal differentiation and brain expansion
Nerve Tissue Proteins
Although neurogenic pathways have been described in the developing neocortex, less is known about mechanisms ensuring correct neuronal differentiation thus also preventing tumor growth. We have shown that RP58 (aka zfp238 or znf238) is highly expressed in differentiating neurons, that its expression is lost or diminished in brain tumors, and that its reintroduction blocks their proliferation. Mice with loss of RP58 die at birth with neocortical defects. Using a novel conditional RP58 allele here we show that its CNS-specific loss yields a novel postnatal phenotype: microencephaly, agenesis of the corpus callosum and cerebellar hypoplasia that resembles the chr1qter deletion microcephaly syndrome in human. RP58 mutant brains maintain precursor pools but have reduced neuronal and increased glial differentiation. Well-timed downregulation of pax6, ngn2 and neuroD1 depends on RP58 mediated transcriptional repression, ngn2 and neuroD1 being direct targets. Thus, RP58 may act to favor neuronal differentiation and brain growth by coherently repressing multiple proneurogenic genes in a timely manner.