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Dev Biol. 2001 Jan 15;229(2):456-67.

Functional domains of the LIM homeodomain protein Xlim-1 involved in negative regulation, transactivation, and axis formation in Xenopus embryos.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan.


The Xenopus LIM homeodomain protein Xlim-1 is specifically expressed in the Spemann organizer region and assumed to play a role in the establishment of the body axis as a transcriptional activator. To further elucidate the mechanism underlying the regulation of its transcriptional activity, we focused on the region C-terminal to the homeodomain of Xlim-1 (CT239-403) and divided it into five regions, CCR1-5 (C-terminal conserved regions), based on similarity between Xlim-1 and its paralog, Xlim-5. The role of Xlim-1 CT239-403 in the Spemann organizer was analyzed by assaying the axis-forming ability of a series of CCR-mutated constructs in Xenopus embryos. We show that high doses of Xlim-1 constructs deleted of CCR1 or CCR2 initiate secondary axis formation in the absence of its coactivator Ldb1 (LIM-domain-binding protein 1), suggesting that CCR1 and CCR2 are involved in negative regulation of Xlim-1. In contrast, while Xlim-1 is capable of initiating secondary axis formation at low doses in the presence of Ldb1, deletion of CCR2 (aa 275-295) or substitution of five conserved tyrosines in CCR2 with alanines (CCR2-5YA) abolished the activity. In addition, UAS-GAL4 one-hybrid reporter assays in Xenopus showed that CCR2, but not CCR2-5YA, with its flanking regions (aa 261-315) functions as a transactivation domain when fused to the GAL4 DNA-binding domain. Finally, we show that none of the known transcriptional coactivators tested (CBP, SRC-1, and TIF2) interacts with the Xlim-1 transactivation domain (aa 261-315). Thus, Xlim-1 not only contains a unique tyrosine-rich activation domain but also contains a negative regulatory domain in CT239-403, suggesting a complex regulatory mechanism underlying the transcriptional activity of Xlim-1 in the organizer.

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