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Nucleic Acids Res. 1991 Sep 11;19(17):4601-9.

Identification and functional characterisation of the cellular activating transcription factor 43 (ATF-43) protein.

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Gene Transcription Laboratory, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK.


The promoter motif CGTCA binds multiple cellular factors that mediate a variety of inducible events, including positive responses to raised cellular levels of cAMP and to the Adenovirus E1a protein. To date, at least ten mammalian cDNA clones have been isolated that encode distinct proteins capable of binding to this motif. However, in most cases the precise stimuli that may regulate these different factors have yet to be determined. We have previously shown that the abundant Hela protein ATF-43 forms a complex in vivo with the cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB). In this report we definitively show that ATF-43 is the product of the two published cDNA clones, ATF1 and TREB 36. We confirm that ATF1 efficiently heterodimerises with CREB and demonstrate that even though ATF1 and CREB homodimers, as well as the ATF1/CREB heterodimer efficiently bind to the CGTCA motif, the resulting DNA-protein complexes have significantly different stabilities. A region outside the DNA binding domain of ATF1 contributes to the instability of its interaction with DNA. We further show that despite ATF1's homology to CREB, it responds poorly to activation by protein kinase A. In light of our finding that in Hela cells the majority of CREB protein is heterodimerised with ATF1, we speculate on the functional significance of such heterodimers.

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