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Genes Dev. 1990 Oct;4(10):1650-62.

Activity and tissue-specific expression of the transcription factor NF-E1 multigene family.

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Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208-3500.


NF-E1, a DNA-binding protein that recognizes the general consensus motif WGATAR, is the first tissue-specific factor to be identified in erythroid cells. Using a probe from the murine GF-1 (NF-E1) cDNA clone, we isolated three homologous chicken cDNAs: One of these corresponds to an mRNA (NF-E1a) that is abundantly and exclusively expressed in erythroid cells; a second mRNA (NF-E1b) is also expressed in all developmental stages of erythroid cells but is additionally found in a limited subset of other chicken tissues; mRNA representative of a third gene (NF-E1c) is expressed only in definitive (adult) erythrocytes within the red cell lineage but is also abundantly expressed in T lymphocytes and brain. All NF-E1 proteins are highly conserved within the DNA-binding domain and bind to the consensus motif with similar affinities in vitro; they are also all stimulatory trans-acting factors in vivo. The factors differ quantitatively in their ability to trans-activate reporter genes in which the number and position of cognate binding sites is varied relative to the transcriptional initiation site. These data suggest that the NF-E1 consensus motif directs a broader and more complicated array of developmental transcriptional regulatory processes than has been assumed and that NF-E1c may play a unique regulatory role in the developing chicken brain and in T lymphocytes.

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