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Oncogene. 1992 Jan;7(1):65-70.

A divergent ets-related protein, elk-1, recognizes similar c-ets-1 proto-oncogene target sequences and acts as a transcriptional activator.

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Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140.


The ets oncogene superfamily consists of a family of sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins that activate transcription. We have previously identified two new members of the ets oncogene superfamily, namely elk-1 and elk-2. In this report we show that the recombinant elk-1 protein expressed in bacteria, like the c-ets-1 proto-oncogene, binds in a sequence-specific manner to Moloney murine sarcoma virus long terminal repeat, E74 target sequences and the PEA3 motif (polyoma enhancer), but does not bind to PU box sequences. Thus analysis of the DNA-binding specificity of ets-related proteins supports the view that different members show similar DNA-binding specificity, which is a general feature of the homeobox proteins. Our data using the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene linked to a thymidine kinase promoter containing multimers of the elk-1 target sequence indicates that elk-1 functions as a transcriptional activator. Interestingly, although elk-1 is the most divergent of all the members of the ets gene family, it shows very close similarities with c-ets-1 in some of its sequence-specific DNA-binding specificities. Here, we propose a new function for the elk-1 gene to act as a transcriptional activator of retroviruses and DNA tumor viruses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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