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Mol Cell Biol. Feb 1994; 14(2): 1230–1244.
PMCID: PMC358479

RFX1, a transactivator of hepatitis B virus enhancer I, belongs to a novel family of homodimeric and heterodimeric DNA-binding proteins.


RFX1 is a transactivator of human hepatitis B virus enhancer I. We show here that RFX1 belongs to a previously unidentified family of DNA-binding proteins of which we have cloned three members, RFX1, RFX2, and RFX3, from humans and mice. Members of the RFX family constitute the nuclear complexes that have been referred to previously as enhancer factor C, EP, methylation-dependent DNA-binding protein, or rpL30 alpha. RFX proteins share five strongly conserved regions which include the two domains required for DNA binding and dimerization. They have very similar DNA-binding specificities and heterodimerize both in vitro and in vivo. mRNA levels for all three genes, particularly RFX2, are elevated in testis. In other cell lines and tissues, RFX mRNA levels are variable, particularly for RFX2 and RFX3. RFX proteins share several novel features, including new DNA-binding and dimerization motifs and a peculiar dependence on methylated CpG dinucleotides at certain sites.

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