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Mol Cell Biol. Sep 1992; 12(9): 4209–4214.
PMCID: PMC360327

Functional antagonism between YY1 and the serum response factor.


The rapid, transient induction of the c-fos proto-oncogene by serum growth factors is mediated by the serum response element (SRE). The SRE shares homology with the muscle regulatory element (MRE) of the skeletal alpha-actin promoter. It is not known how these elements respond to proliferative and cell-type-specific signals, but the response appears to involve the binding of the serum response factor (SRF) and other proteins. Here, we report that YY1, a multifunctional transcription factor, binds to SRE and MRE sequences in vitro. The methylation interference footprint of YY1 overlaps with that of the SRF, and YY1 competes with the SRF for binding to these DNA elements. Overexpression of YY1 repressed serum-inducible and basal expression from the c-fos promoter and repressed basal expression from the skeletal alpha-actin promoter. YY1 also repressed expression from the individual SRE and MRE sequences upstream from a TATA element. Unlike that of YY1, SRF overexpression alone did not influence the transcriptional activity of the target sequence, but SRF overexpression could reverse YY1-mediated trans repression. These data suggest that YY1 and the SRF have antagonistic functions in vivo.

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