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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Nov; 87(22): 9028–9032.

Xenopus Y-box transcription factors: molecular cloning, functional analysis and developmental regulation.


We describe the cloning and characterization of two cDNAs from Xenopus laevis that encode sequence-specific DNA binding proteins called FRG Y1 and FRG Y2 (frog Y-box proteins 1 and 2). During oogenesis and embryogenesis, the genes encoding these proteins are differentially expressed. FRG Y1 mRNA is present in oocytes, embryos, and all adult tissues examined, whereas FRG Y2 mRNA is found only in testis and immature oocytes. The FRG Y1 and FRG Y2 proteins are shown to stimulate transcription from a promoter containing a Y box (CTGATTGGCCAA). This promoter element is found in both mammalian major histocompatibility complex class II and Xenopus germ-cell-specific genes. FRG Y1, FRG Y2, and a human Y-box binding protein are homologous and represent a distinct family of sequence-specific DNA binding proteins. We identify protamine-like regions that are present within this family of transcription factors, suggesting that they use unusual means of binding to DNA.

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