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J Biol Chem. 1998 Jun 26;273(26):16050-7.

Cooperative function of POU proteins and SOX proteins in glial cells.

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  • 1Zentrum für Molekulare Neurobiologie, Universität Hamburg, Martinistr. 52, D-20246 Hamburg, Germany.


Glial cells of the oligodendrocyte lineage express several highly related POU proteins including Tst-1/Oct6/SCIP and Brn-1. Tst-1/Oct6/SCIP, but not Brn-1 efficiently cooperated with Sox10, the only SRY box protein so far identified in oligodendrocytes. Here we show that, in addition to Sox10, cells of the oligodendrocyte lineage contain significant amounts of the related SRY box proteins Sox4 and Sox11. During development, Sox11 was strongly expressed in the central nervous system. It was first detected in neural precursors throughout the neuroepithelium. During later stages of neural development, Sox11 was additionally expressed in areas of the brain in which neurons undergo differentiation. In agreement with its expression in neural precursors, Sox11 levels in cells of the oligodendrocyte lineage were high in precursors and down-regulated during terminal differentiation. Outside the nervous system, expression of Sox11 was also detected in the developing limbs, face, and kidneys. Structure function analysis revealed that Sox11 has a strong intrinsic transactivation capacity which is mediated by a transactivation domain in its carboxyl-terminal part. In addition, Sox11 efficiently synergized with Brn-1. Synergy was dependent on binding of both proteins to adjacent DNA elements, and required the presence of the respective transactivation domain in each protein. Our data suggest the existence of a specific code in which POU proteins require specific Sox proteins to exhibit cooperative effects in glial cells.

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