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Mol Cell Biol. Jul 1995; 15(7): 3813–3822.
PMCID: PMC230620

Identification of a new family of tissue-specific basic helix-loop-helix proteins with a two-hybrid system.

Abstract

With modified two-hybrid technology, we have isolated a member of a new family of basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors. Thing1 (Th1) was identified in a screen of a mouse embryo cDNA library as a partner for the Drosophila E protein daughterless. RNA in situ hybridization and reverse transcriptase-PCR demonstrate a stage- and tissue-specific distribution for the expression of Th1. Although tissue specific, the expression pattern of Th1 is fairly complex. During development, Th1 mRNA is widely expressed in extraembryonic tissues, portions of the heart, autonomic ganglia, the gut, and pharyngeal arches. At embryonic day 7.5 (E7.5), extraembryonic derivatives show robust Th1 expression. By E8.5, expression in the embryonic heart becomes detectable. During the next 2 days of development, the signal also includes gut and pharyngeal arches. Predominant expression at E13.5 is in neural crest derivatives, especially the autonomic nervous system and adrenal medulla. Expression of Th1 persists in the adult, in which it is localized to the smooth muscle cells of the gut. In vitro, Th1 protein recognizes a set of DNA sites that are more degenerate than has been determined for other bHLH factors, indicating a reduced binding specificity. Transient transfection of NIH 3T3 cells with GAL4-Th1 fusions reveals a repression activity mediated by the Th1 bHLH domain. In combination, these properties define Th1 as a new bHLH protein with a unique set of properties.

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Selected References

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