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Mol Cell Biol. 1994 Aug;14(8):5076-87.

One exon of the human LSF gene includes conserved regions involved in novel DNA-binding and dimerization motifs.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


The transcription factor LSF, identified as a HeLa protein that binds the simian virus 40 late promoter, recognizes direct repeats with a center-to-center spacing of 10 bp. The characterization of two human cDNAs, representing alternatively spliced mRNAs, provides insight into the unusual DNA-binding and oligomerization properties of LSF. The sequence of the full-length LSF is identical to that of the transcription factors alpha CP2 and LBP-1c and has similarity to the Drosophila transcription factor Elf-1/NTF-1. Using an epitope-counting method, we show that LSF binds DNA as a homodimer. LSF-ID, which is identical to LBP-1d, contains an in-frame internal deletion of 51 amino acids resulting from alternative mRNA splicing. Unlike LSF, LSF-ID did not bind LSF DNA-binding sites. Furthermore, LSF-ID did not affect the binding of LSF to DNA, suggesting that the two proteins do not interact. Of three short regions with a high degree of homology between LSF and Elf-1/NTF-1, LSF-ID lacks two, which are predicted to form beta-strands. Double amino acid substitutions in each of these regions eliminated specific DNA-binding activity, similarly to the LSF-ID deletion. The dimerization potential of these mutants was measured both by the ability to inhibit the binding of LSF to DNA and by direct protein-protein interaction studies. Mutations in one homology region, but not the other, functionally eliminated dimerization.

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