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J Biol Chem. 1999 Dec 17;274(51):36344-50.

Mlx, a novel Max-like BHLHZip protein that interacts with the Max network of transcription factors.

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  • 1Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-5550, USA.


Mad:Max heterodimers oppose the growth-promoting action of Myc:Max heterodimers by recruiting the mSin3-histone deacetylase (mSin3. HDAC) complex to DNA and functioning as potent transcriptional repressors. There are four known members of the Mad family that are indistinguishable in their abilities to interact with Max, bind DNA, repress transcription, and block Myc + Ras co-transformation. To investigate functional differences between Mad family proteins, we have identified additional proteins that interact with this family. Here we present the identification and characterization of the novel basic-helix-loop-helix zipper protein Mlx (Max-like protein x), which is structurally and functionally related to Max. The similarities between Mlx and Max include 1) broad expression in many tissues, 2) long protein half-life, and 3) formation of heterodimers with Mad family proteins that are capable of specific CACGTG binding. We show that transcriptional repression by Mad1:Mlx heterodimers is dependent on dimerization, DNA binding, and recruitment of the mSin3A.HDAC corepressor complex. In contrast with Max, Mlx interacts only with Mad1 and Mad4. Together, these findings suggest that Mlx may act to diversify Mad family function by its restricted association with a subset of the Mad family of transcriptional repressors.

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