PloS one

Widespread expression of BORIS/CTCFL in normal and cancer cells.

PMID 21811597


BORIS (CTCFL) is the paralog of CTCF (CCCTC-binding factor; NM_006565), a ubiquitously expressed DNA-binding protein with diverse roles in gene expression and chromatin organisation. BORIS and CTCF have virtually identical zinc finger domains, yet display major differences in their respective C- and N-terminal regions. Unlike CTCF, BORIS expression has been reported only in the testis and certain malignancies, leading to its classification as a "cancer-testis" antigen. However, the expression pattern of BORIS is both a significant and unresolved question in the field of DNA binding proteins. Here, we identify BORIS in the cytoplasm and nucleus of a wide range of normal and cancer cells. We compare the localization of CTCF and BORIS in the nucleus and demonstrate enrichment of BORIS within the nucleolus, inside the nucleolin core structure and adjacent to fibrillarin in the dense fibrillar component. In contrast, CTCF is not enriched in the nucleolus. Live imaging of cells transiently transfected with GFP tagged BORIS confirmed the nucleolar accumulation of BORIS. While BORIS transcript levels are low compared to CTCF, its protein levels are readily detectable. These findings show that BORIS expression is more widespread than previously believed, and suggest a role for BORIS in nucleolar function.