PloS one

Sterile alpha motif containing 7 (samd7) is a novel crx-regulated transcriptional repressor in the retina.

PMID 23565263


Inherited retinal diseases are mainly caused by mutations in genes that are highly expressed in photoreceptors of the retina. The majority of these genes is under the control of the transcription factor Cone rod homeobox (Crx), that acts as a master transcription factor in photoreceptors. Using a genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation dataset that highlights all potential in vivo targets of Crx, we have identified a novel sterile alpha motif (SAM) domain containing protein, Samd7. mRNA Expression of Samd7 was confined to the late postnatal and adult mouse retina as well as the pineal gland. Using immunohistochemistry and Western blot, we could detect Samd7 protein in the outer nuclear layer of adult mouse retina. Ectopic over-expression in HEK293 cells demonstrated that Samd7 resides in the cytoplasm as well as the nucleus. In vitro electroporation of fluorescent reporters into living mouse retinal cultures revealed that transcription of the Samd7 gene depends on evolutionary conserved Crx motifs located in the first intron enhancer. Moreover, Crx knock-down with shRNA strongly reduced Samd7 reporter activity and endogenous Samd7 protein, indicating that Crx is required for retinal expression of Samd7. Finally, using co-transfections in luciferase reporter assays we found that Samd7 interferes with Crx-dependent transcription. Samd7 suppressed luciferase activity from a reporter plasmid with five Crx consensus repeats in a dose dependent manner and reduced Crx-mediated transactivation of regulatory sequences in the retinoschisin gene and the Samd7 gene itself. Taken together, we have identified a novel retinal SAM domain protein, Samd7, which could act as a transcriptional repressor involved in fine-tuning of Crx-regulated gene expression.