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In analysis of a conserved region of proximal mouse chromosome 7 and human chromosome 19q, we have isolated a novel mouse gene, Zim1 (imprinted zinc-finger gene 1), encoding a typical Kruppel-type (C2H2) zinc-finger protein, located within 30 kb of a known imprinted gene, Peg3 (paternally expressed gene 3). Our studies demonstrate that Zim1 is also imprinted; the gene is expressed mainly from the maternal allele and at high levels only during embryonic and neonatal stages. In contrast to most tissues, Zim1 is expressed biallelically in neonatal and adult brain with slightly more input from the maternal allele. Zim1 produces multiple transcripts that range in size from 7.5 to 15 kb. The 7.5 kb transcript is expressed at highest levels and appears to be embryo specific. Whole mount in situ hybridization analysis indicates that Zim1 is expressed at significant levels in the apical ectodermal ridge of the limb buds during embryogenesis, suggesting a potential role of Zim1 in limb formation. We have identified the potential human ortholog of Zim1 near PEG3 in a conserved, gene-rich region of human chromosome 19q13.4. The close juxtaposition of reciprocally imprinted genes has also been seen in other imprinted regions, such as human 11p15.5/Mmu7 (H19/Igf2) and suggests that the two genes may be co-regulated. These and other data suggest the presence of an unexplored, conserved imprinted domain in human chromosome 19q13.4 and proximal Mmu7.

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Human Molecular Genetics

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