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Blood. 2001 Feb 1;97(3):645-51.

Inhibitory effect of the transcription factor encoded by the mutant mi microphthalmia allele on transactivation of mouse mast cell protease 7 gene.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Osaka University Medical School, Suita, Japan.


The transcription factor encoded by the mi locus (MITF) is a transcription factor of the basic-helix-loop-helix zipper protein family. Mice of mi/mi genotype express a normal amount of abnormal MITF, whereas mice of tg/tg genotype do not express any MITFs due to the transgene insertional mutation. The effect of normal (+) and mutant (mi) MITFs on the expression of mouse mast cell protease (MMCP) 6 and 7 was examined. Both MMCP-6 and MMCP-7 are tryptases, and their coding regions with high homology are closely located on chromosome 17. Both MMCP-6 and MMCP-7 genes are expressed in normal cultured mast cells (+/+ CMCs). Although the transcription of MMCP-6 gene was severely suppressed in both mi/mi and tg/tg CMCs, that of MMCP-7 gene was severely suppressed only in mi/mi CMCs. The study identified the most significant segment for the transcription in the 5' flanking region of MMCP-7 gene. Unexpectedly, no CANNTG motifs were found that are recognized and bound by +-MITF in this segment. Instead, there was an AP-1 binding motif, and binding of c-Jun to the AP-1 motif significantly enhanced the transcription of MMCP-7 gene. The complex formation of c-Jun with either +-MITF or mi-MITF was demonstrated. The binding of +-MITF to c-Jun enhanced the transactivation of MMCP-7 gene, and that of mi-MITF suppressed the transactivation. Although the former complex was located only in the nucleus, the latter complex was predominantly found in the cytoplasm. The negative effect of mi-MITF on the transcription of MMCP-7 gene appeared to be executed through the interaction with c-Jun.

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