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ZNF41 belongs to a cluster of human zinc finger genes residing within a gene-rich region at Xp11.23. ZNF41 encodes a KRAB/FPB (Krüppel-associated/finger preceding box) domain, a potent transcription repression motif present in hundreds of vertebrate zinc finger protein genes, composed of two protein modules, A and B. Three introns, placed at identical positions in paralogous genes, interrupt four exons encoding the ZNF41 N-terminal amino acids, the KRAB/FPB-A and KRAB/FPB-B modules, and the remaining coding region adjoined to the C-terminal zinc finger domain. Since the KRAB/FPB-A and KRAB/FPB-B modules are encoded by dedicated exons in ZNF41 and paralogous genes, exon skipping may lead to differential usage of these modules in alternative gene products. RT-PCR analysis of ZNF41 mRNAs showed that, while skipping of the KRAB/FPB-A and/or KRAB/FPB-B exons was not detected, the use of alternative donor/acceptor sites upstream of the KRAB/FPB-A exon generates multiple ZNF41 transcripts potentially encoding polypeptides differing in the N-terminal region and expressed in different tissues. The expression pattern in cell hybrids containing either active or inactive X chromosomes indicates that ZNF41, which resides within a region of the X chromosome that includes genes that are both subject to and escape X-inactivation, is susceptible to X-chromosome inactivation.
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