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Genes Dev. 1991 Aug;5(8):1464-76.

The rel-associated pp40 protein prevents DNA binding of Rel and NF-kappa B: relationship with I kappa B beta and regulation by phosphorylation.

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Molecular Biology and Virology Laboratory, Salk Institute, San Diego, California 92186-5800.


The product of proto-oncogene Rel associates with a number of cellular proteins. We have studied the effect of one of them, a phosphoprotein of 40 kD (pp40), on the DNA-binding activity of the Rel protein. We demonstrate that purified pp40 not only inhibits the binding of Rel, but also NF-kappa B (p50-p65) heterocomplex to DNA. Additionally, I kappa B beta, but not I kappa B alpha, also prevented the binding of Rel to the kappa B site. I kappa B beta and pp40 are related proteins because (1) they share a number of common tryptic peptides, (2) their inhibitory effect on DNA binding can be abolished by preincubation with pp40-specific antiserum, and (3) labeled I kappa B beta can be immunoprecipitated with pp40 antibodies. pp40 is part of the Rel complex present in the cytoplasm and nuclear extracts of WEHI-231 cells. The activity of pp40 to inhibit the DNA binding of Rel and NF-kappa B is modulated by phosphorylation.

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