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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2005 Oct 1;442(1):117-24.

Hex stimulates the hepatocyte nuclear factor 1alpha-mediated activation of transcription.

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Department of Applied Molecular Biosciences, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.


The homeodomain protein Hex can function either as a transcriptional repressor or activator in animals. Recent reports have indicated that Hex is involved in liver development. However, its target genes and interacting proteins are largely unknown. We found that Hex functionally interacted with hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF) 1alpha to further stimulate its activity using reporter gene containing multiple copies of HNF1alpha-binding site of the L-type pyruvate kinase (L-PK) gene promoter or natural L-PK promoter. This stimulation required the homeodomain and the acidic carboxyl-terminal region of Hex. Over-expression of Hex in primary cultured hepatocytes resulted in stimulation of the L-PK gene expression. Glutathione S-transferase pull-down assay and co-immunoprecipitation revealed that Hex physically interacted with HNF1alpha in mammalian cells through the homeodomain of Hex and POU-homeodomain of HNF1alpha. Since HNF1alpha is an important liver-enriched transcription factor involved in liver differentiation, Hex may contribute to liver differentiation through interaction with HNF1alpha.

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