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J Biol Chem. 1999 May 14;274(20):14238-45.

Molecular interactions between single-stranded DNA-binding proteins associated with an essential MCAT element in the mouse smooth muscle alpha-actin promoter.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic/Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Transcriptional activity of the mouse vascular smooth muscle alpha-actin gene in fibroblasts is regulated, in part, by a 30-base pair asymmetric polypurine-polypyrimidine tract containing an essential MCAT enhancer motif. The double-stranded form of this sequence serves as a binding site for a transcription enhancer factor 1-related protein while the separated single strands interact with two distinct DNA binding activities termed VACssBF1 and 2 (Cogan, J. G., Sun, S., Stoflet, E. S., Schmidt, L. J., Getz, M. J., and Strauch, A. R. (1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270, 11310-11321; Sun, S., Stoflet, E. S., Cogan, J. G., Strauch, A. R., and Getz, M. J. (1995) Mol. Cell. Biol. 15, 2429-2936). VACssBF2 has been recently cloned and shown to consist of two closely related proteins, Puralpha and Purbeta (Kelm, R. J., Elder, P. K., Strauch, A. R., and Getz, M. J. (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 272, 26727-26733). In this study, we demonstrate that Puralpha and Purbeta interact with each other via highly specific protein-protein interactions and bind to the purine-rich strand of the MCAT enhancer in the form of both homo- and heteromeric complexes. Moreover, both Pur proteins interact with MSY1, a VACssBF1-like protein cloned by virtue of its affinity for the pyrimidine-rich strand of the enhancer. Interactions between Puralpha, Purbeta, and MSY1 do not require the participation of DNA. Combinatorial interactions between these three single-stranded DNA-binding proteins may be important in regulating activity of the smooth muscle alpha-actin MCAT enhancer in fibroblasts.

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