Background: DING proteins encompass an intriguing protein family first characterized by their conserved N-terminal sequences. Some of these proteins seem to have key roles in various human diseases, e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, HIV suppression. Although this protein family seems to be ubiquitous in eukaryotes, their genes are consistently lacking from genomic databases. Such a lack has considerably hampered functional studies and has fostered therefore the hypothesis that DING proteins isolated from eukaryotes were in fact prokaryotic contaminants.
Principal findings: In the framework of our study, we have performed a comprehensive immunological detection of DING proteins in mice. We demonstrate that DING proteins are present in all tissues tested as isoforms of various molecular weights (MWs). Their intracellular localization is tissue-dependant, being exclusively nuclear in neurons, but cytoplasmic and nuclear in other tissues. We also provide evidence that germ-free mouse plasma contains as much DING protein as wild-type.
Significance: Hence, data herein provide a valuable basis for future investigations aimed at eukaryotic DING proteins, revealing that these proteins seem ubiquitous in mouse tissue. Our results strongly suggest that mouse DING proteins are endogenous. Moreover, the determination in this study of the precise cellular localization of DING proteins constitute a precious evidence to understand their molecular involvements in their related human diseases.