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Oncogene. 1999 Mar 18;18(11):2003-14.

Transcriptional repression of the E2F-1 gene by interferon-alpha is mediated through induction of E2F-4/pRB and E2F-4/p130 complexes.

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Center for Molecular Medicine, Department of Hematology, Jichi Medical School, Tochigi, Japan.


E2F is a heterodimeric transcription factor composed of one of five E2F subunits (E2F-1 to E2F-5) and a DP subunit. E2F regulates the expression of several growth-promoting genes, and thus, can be a target of antiproliferative action of interferons (IFNs). In this study, we investigated the mechanisms whereby IFN-alpha suppresses transcription of the E2F-1 gene. Transfection studies revealed that E2F-1 promoter was functionally divided into two parts: upstream activation sequences (UAS) and a downstream negative-regulatory element (E2F-binding sites). When cells were proliferating, transcription of the E2F-1 gene was primarily driven by the UAS, while E2F sites were not involved in activation. IFN-alpha markedly reduced E2F-1 promoter activity, but introduction of non-binding mutation at the E2F sites completely abrogated the inhibition. Free E2F4 was found to be the predominant species bound to the E2F sites in proliferating cells. IFN-alpha induced upregulation of E2F-4 along with dephosphorylation of pRB and p130, which resulted in the formation of E2F-4/pRB and E2F-4/p130 complexes on the E2F-1 promoter. These complexes function as transcriptional repressors to inhibit E2F-1 mRNA expression. Our findings indicate that E2F-4 is a critical regulator of E2F-1, which offer an excellent paradigm for understanding functional diversity within the E2F family.

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