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Oncogene. 2002 Feb 28;21(10):1563-70.

Differences in DNA binding properties between E2F1 and E2F4 specify repression of the Mcl-1 promoter.

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Program in Molecular Oncology, H Lee Moffitt Comprehensive Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, FL 33612, USA.


E2F1 is a potent inducer of apoptosis whereas its relative, E2F4, generally does not promote cell death. Other work from our laboratory has demonstrated that E2F1 can directly bind and represss the Mcl-1 promoter - contributing to E2F1-mediated apoptosis. Here we show that while E2F1 can repress the Mcl-1 promoter, other members of the E2F family (such as E2F4) cannot. Characterization of the Mcl-1 promoter demonstrates that the -143/+10 region is critical for E2F1-mediated downregulation. We demonstrate that the ability of E2F1 to repress the Mcl-1 promoter correlates with its ability to bind within the required -143/+10 region of this promoter. In contrast, E2F4 is unable to bind to the -143/+10 region of the Mcl-1 promoter. We propose that E2F4 is unable to repress the Mcl-1 promoter primarily as a result of insufficient binding to the essential regulatory region. This is the first evidence of DNA binding specificity among E2F family members that results in differential regulation of a naturally occurring promoter.

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