RING finger, H2 subclass, found in RING finger protein 12 (RNF12) and similar proteins
RNF12, also known as LIM domain-interacting RING finger protein or RING finger LIM domain-binding protein (R-LIM), is an E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase encoded by gene RLIM that is crucial for normal embryonic development in some species and for normal X inactivation in mice. It thus functions as a major sex-specific epigenetic regulator of female mouse nurturing tissues. RNF12 is widely expressed during embryogenesis, and mainly localizes to the cell nucleus, where it regulates the levels of many proteins, including CLIM, LMO, HDAC2, TRF1, SMAD7, and REX1, by proteasomal degradation. Its functional activity is regulated by phosphorylation-dependent nucleocytoplasmic shuttling. It is negatively regulated by pluripotency factors in embryonic stem cells. p53 represses its transcription through Sp1. RNF12 is the primary factor responsible for X chromosome inactivation (XCI) in female placental mammals. It is an indispensable factor in up-regulation of Xist transcription, thereby leading to initiation of random XCI. It also targets REX1, an inhibitor of XCI, for proteasomal degradation. Moreover, RNF12 acts as a co-regulator of a range of transcription factors, particularly those containing a LIM homeodomain, and modulates the formation of transcriptional multiprotein complexes. It is a negative regulator of Smad7, which in turn negatively regulates the type I receptors in transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) superfamily signaling. In addition, paternal RNF12 is a critical survival factor for milk-producing alveolar cells. RNF12 contains an nuclear localization signal (NLS) and a C3H2C3-type RING-H2 finger.