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Development. 1995 Sep;121(9):2779-88.

Cloning and characterization of a second AP-2 transcription factor: AP-2 beta.

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Institute for Pathology, University of Regensburg Medical School, Germany.


AP-2 has been characterized previously as a unique 52 x 10(3) M(r) transcription activator encoded by a single gene that is expressed in a restricted pattern during embryonic morphogenesis of the peripheral nervous system, face, skin and nephric tissues. Here we report the isolation of genomic and cDNA clones encoding for a second AP-2 related transcription factor, designated AP-2 beta. AP-2 beta binds specifically to a series of well-characterized AP-2 binding sites, consensus to the sequence G/CCCN3GGC, and transactivates transcription from a reporter plasmid under the control of an AP-2-dependent promoter. A C-terminal domain known to mediate homodimerization of the previously cloned AP-2 alpha transcription activator is highly conserved and sufficient to mediate interaction between the two proteins. Northern blot and in situ hybridizations revealed that the two genes are expressed in murine embryos between days 9.5 and 19.5 p.c. Coexpression of both mRNAs was detected in many tissues at day 13.5 and 15.5 of embryogenesis but some regions of the developing brain and face including the primordium of midbrain and the facial mesenchyme differed in their expression pattern of AP-2 genes. AP-2 alpha and AP-2 beta signals in the central and peripheral nervous system overlapped with regions of developing sensory neurons. In adult tissues AP-2 alpha expression was found mainly in the skin, eye and prostate and AP-2 beta expression in the kidney. In summary, our analyses of embryonic and adult mice demonstrate that two different AP-2 transcription factors are specifically expressed during differentiation of many neural, epidermal and urogenital tissues.

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