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Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Apr;25(8):3182-93.

Oct-1 counteracts autoinhibition of Runx2 DNA binding to form a novel Runx2/Oct-1 complex on the promoter of the mammary gland-specific gene beta-casein.

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Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Michael Smith Building, Oxford Rd., Manchester M13 9PT, United Kingdom.


The transcription factor Runx2 is essential for the expression of a number of bone-specific genes and is primarily considered a master regulator of bone development. Runx2 is also expressed in mammary epithelial cells, but its role in the mammary gland has not been established. Here we show that Runx2 forms a novel complex with the ubiquitous transcription factor Oct-1 to regulate the expression of the mammary gland-specific gene beta-casein. The Runx2/Oct-1 complex forms on a Runx/octamer element which is highly conserved in casein promoters. Chromatin immunoprecipitation, RNA interference, promoter mutagenesis, and transient expression analyses were used to demonstrate that the Runx2/Oct-1 complex contributes to the transcriptional regulation of the beta-casein gene. Analysis of the complex revealed autoinhibitory domains for DNA binding in both the N-terminal and the C-terminal regions of Runx2. Oct-1 stimulates the recruitment of Runx2 to the beta-casein promoter by interacting with the C-terminal region of Runx2, suggesting that Oct-1 stimulates Runx2 recruitment by relieving the autoinhibition of Runx2 DNA binding. These findings demonstrate that Runx2 collaborates with Oct-1 and contributes to the expression of a mammary gland-specific gene.

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