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EMBO J. 1991 Jan;10(1):123-32.

Identification and cloning of TCF-1, a T lymphocyte-specific transcription factor containing a sequence-specific HMG box.

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Department of Clinical Immunology, University Hospital Utrecht, The Netherlands.


CD3-epsilon expression is controlled by a downstream T lymphocyte-specific enhancer element. We report the identification of a T cell-specific transcription factor, TCF-1, binding to this element. The multimerized recognition motif of TCF-1 constituted a T cell-specific enhancer. Subsequent cloning of TCF-1 identified three splice alternatives. TCF-1 contained a single DNA-binding HMG box most closely related to similar boxes in the putative mammalian sex-determining gene SRY and in the Schizosaccharomyces pombe Mc mating type gene. TCF-1 mRNA was expressed uniquely in T lymphocytes. Upon cotransfection into non-T cells, TCF-1 could transactivate through its cognate motif. These results identify TCF-1 as a T cell-specific transcription factor, which might play a role in the establishment of the mature T cell phenotype.

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