Several lines of evidence now suggest that many of the zinc-finger- containing (ZNF) genes in the human genome are arranged in clusters. However, little is known about the structure or function of the clusters or about their conservation throughout evolution. Here, we report the analysis of a conserved ZNF gene cluster located in human chromosome 19q13.2 and mouse chromosome 7. Our results indicate that the human cluster consists of at least 10 related Kruppel-associated box (KRAB)-containing ZNF genes organized in tandem over a distance of 350-450 kb. Two cDNA clones representing genes in the murine cluster have been studied in detail. The KRAB A domains of these genes are nearly identical and are highly similar to human 19q13.2- derived KRAB sequences, but DNA-binding ZNF domains and other portions of the genes differ considerably. The two murine genes display distinct expression patterns, but are coexpressed in some adult tissues. These studies pave the way for a systematic analysis of the evolution of structure and function of genes within the numerous clustered ZNF families located on human chromosome 19 and elsewhere in the human and mouse genomes.
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