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EMBO J. 2003 Oct 15;22(20):5530-9.

Genetic analysis of NF-kappaB/Rel transcription factors defines functional specificities.

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Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


The NF-kappaB transcription factors consist of dimeric proteins of the Rel homology family. They activate many promoters containing highly divergent kappaB-site sequences. We have generated cell lines lacking individual and multiple NF-kappaB proteins and used them to establish interactions between components of the NF-kappaB-IkappaB signaling system. Functional compensation within the family of dimers was evident in knockout cell lines. Analysis of transiently transfected genes gave an impression of promiscuity that was not borne out by analysis of endogenous genes. Using TNFalpha as an inducer, a panel of endogenous genes showed a wide range of subunit specificities as well as highly variable kinetics of induction. Comparing the function and subunit specificity of genes with the sequence of the kappaB DNA-binding site we found little correlation, indicating that NF-kappaB family member specificity for endogenous promoters is not solely encoded by the kappaB site sequence itself.

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