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Nature. 1989 Jul 6;340(6228):68-70.

Occupation of the c-fos serum response element in vivo by a multi-protein complex is unaltered by growth factor induction.

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Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie Heidelberg, Universität Heidelberg, FRG.


Rapid, transient induction of the human c-fos proto-oncogene by extracellular signals requires the presence in cis of the serum response element (SRE). Two protein factors that bind to the SRE in vitro are the serum response factor (p67SRF) and polypeptide p62. These polypeptides must interact with one another and the SRE for efficient serum induction of the c-fos gene. Here we use dimethyl sulphate genomic footprinting to establish the in vivo protein contacts on the SRE and flanking sequences. In human A431 cells the patterns of protection and hyper-reactivity that we find are consistent with the presence of p67SRF, p62, and at least one other protein immediately 3' to p67SRF. The protein-DNA contacts we observe within the SRE are present before induction by epidermal growth factor and are unchanged during gene activation and subsequent repression. Our results indicate that a specific DNA-protein architecture may be maintained at the c-fos SRE, regardless of changes in the transcriptional state of the gene. Such established structures could be important generally in rapid transcriptional responses to extracellular signals.

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