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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Sep 1;90(17):8219-23.

CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein mRNA is translated into multiple proteins with different transcription activation potentials.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, University of Geneva, Switzerland.


The CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) alpha is a leucine zipper protein that is preferentially expressed in certain cell types, such as adipocytes and hepatocytes. Here we show that C/EBP alpha mRNA is translated into two major proteins, C/EBP-42 and C/EBP-30, that differ in their content of N-terminal amino acid sequences. These results are best explained by a ribosome-scanning mechanism in which a fraction of ribosomes ignore the first two AUGs and initiate translation at an AUG located 351 nt downstream of the first one. Because C/EBP-30, the translation product initiated at the third AUG, is devoid of the potent transcription-activation domain contained in C/EBP-42, the former protein stimulates transcription from the mouse albumin promoter much less efficiently than the latter. The gene encoding the liver-enriched transcriptional-activator protein LAP (C/EBP-beta) has also been shown to issue two proteins, LAP and the liver-enriched transcriptional-inhibitory protein LIP, with different transcription-activation potentials. The production of multiple proteins from a single mRNA is not only shared between different C/EBP family members but also appears to be conserved in vertebrate evolution.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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