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Mol Cell Biol. 1994 Jan;14(1):268-76.

Fos and Jun repress transcription activation by NF-IL6 through association at the basic zipper region.

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  • 1Brookdale Center for Molecular Biology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029.


NF-IL6 and AP-1 family transcription factors are coordinately induced by interleukin-6 (IL-6) in a cell-type-specific manner, suggesting that they mediate IL-6 signals in the nucleus. We show that the basic leucine zipper (bZIP) region of NF-IL6 mediates a direct association with the bZIP regions of Fos and Jun in vitro. This interaction does not depend on the presence of their cognate recognition DNA elements or the posttranslational modification of either partner. NF-IL6 homodimers can bind to both NF-IL6 and AP-1 sites, whereas Fos and Jun cannot bind to most NF-IL6 sites. Cross-family association with Fos or with Jun alters the DNA binding specificity of NF-IL6 and reduced its binding to NF-IL6 sites. NF-IL6 isoforms that differ in the site of translation initiation have distinct transcriptional activities. Activation of a reporter gene linked to the NF-IL6 site by NF-IL6 is repressed by Fos and by Jun in transient transfection assays. Thus, association with AP-1 results in repression of transcription activation by NF-IL6. The repression is NF-IL6 site dependent and may have a role in determining the promoter and cell type specificity in IL-6 signaling.

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