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Nucleic Acids Res. 1993 Jan 25;21(2):253-8.

cDNA cloning of human N-Oct3, a nervous-system specific POU domain transcription factor binding to the octamer DNA motif.

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  • 1University Hospital Zurich, Department of Internal Medicine, Switzerland.


Octamer transcription factors (Oct or OTF) are a subset of the POU family of transcription factors which regulate transcription of cellular and viral genes by binding to the octamer sequence motif ATGCAAAT. Neurons and astroglial cells harbour, in addition to the ubiquitous Oct 1 factor, at least four specific factors termed N-Oct 2,3,4 and 5. Here we report the cloning of a human brain-derived cDNA that encodes the N-Oct 3 protein (443 aa) which is the human counterpart of the murine brain-2 gene product. Extracts from mammalian cells transfected with an N-Oct 3 expression vector yield three octamer DNA binding complexes in the electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA): N-Oct 3 and two smaller complexes comigrating with the N-Oct 5A and 5B proteins of brain extracts. We present data suggesting that the N-Oct 5A and 5B proteins are generated by alternative translation initiation at internal AUG residues which are located before the POU domain. In contrast to the putative N-Oct 5 proteins, which are transcriptionally inert, the N-Oct 3 protein activates transcription from a reporter gene promoter with an octamer sequence, when transiently expressed in HeLa cells.

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