To identify genes expressed in cone photoreceptors, we previously carried out subtractive hybridization and microarrays of retinal mRNAs from normal and cd (cone degeneration) dogs. One of the isolated genes encoded ZBED4, a novel protein that in human retina is localized to cone photoreceptors and glial Müller cells. ZBED4 is distributed between nuclear and cytoplasmic fractions of the retina and it readily forms homodimers, probably as a consequence of its hATC dimerization domain. In addition, the ZBED4 sequence has several domains that suggest it may function as part of a co-activator complex facilitating the activation of nuclear receptors and other factors (BED finger domains) or as a co-activator/co-repressor of nuclear hormone receptors (LXXLL motifs). We have identified several putative ZBED4-interacting proteins and one of them is precisely a co-repressor of the estrogen receptor α.
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