We have identified a novel mammalian gene, TMEFF2, that encodes a putative transmembrane protein containing two follistatin-like domains and one epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domain. The TMEFF2 gene is predominantly expressed in the brain. In situ hybridization analysis revealed that TMEFF2 is widely expressed in the brain, including hippocampal cornu ammonis, dentate gyrus, and substantia nigra pars compacta. We evaluated the survival effect of TMEFF2 using primary cultured neurons from several regions of fetal rat brain following treatment with a recombinant TMEFF2 protein fragment consisting of the putative extracellular domain. TMEFF2 increased survival of neurons from the hippocampus and midbrain, but not from the cerebral cortex, indicating that the survival effects of TMEFF2 are specific to certain cell types. Recombinant TMEFF2 also promoted survival of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons. Together, these findings suggest that TMEFF2 may be a novel survival factor for hippocampal and mesencephalic, but not for cortical, neurons.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.