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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 Mar;85(5):1482-6.

Oligonucleotide that binds nuclear factor NF-kappa B acts as a lymphoid-specific and inducible enhancer element.

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  • 1Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA 02142.


The immunoglobulin kappa light chain gene contains a lymphoid-specific enhancer that includes several short protein-binding sequences. The sequence that binds the nuclear factor NF-kappa B was tested for its ability to act independently as an enhancer element by inserting it into test plasmids containing the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene. When analyzed for activity by transient transfection into lymphoid and nonlymphoid cells, a single copy of the NF-kappa B binding site could act as a tissue-specific upstream activating element. Two copies (dimer) showed 10-fold higher activity than did one copy and could act as an enhancer element 2.5 kilobases downstream of the transcriptional start site. The enhancer activity of this sequence was correlated with the presence of the cognate binding protein, NF-kappa B. This sequence acted as an inducible enhancer under conditions that induce NF-kappa B binding activity. Thus, the NF-kappa B binding site acts by itself as a tissue-specific and inducible enhancer element, and two copies show cooperative interaction.

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