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EMBO J. 1994 Dec 1;13(23):5656-67.

MAZ-dependent termination between closely spaced human complement genes.

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Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, UK.


The zinc finger protein MAZ, originally identified as a factor that binds to the c-myc P2 promoter, is associated with transcriptional termination. As shown in these studies, a termination sequence between the closely spaced human complement genes C2 and Factor B contains a protein binding site which interacts with three different proteins in vitro. Binding of one of these factors, MAZ, correlates with activity of the C2 termination sequence in vivo. Cloned MAZ was used to obtain a consensus binding site, G5AG5. This allowed identification of new sites, between the closely spaced human genes g11 and C4 and within an intron of the mouse IgM-D gene, where termination is known to occur and regulate the expression of IgD. The g11 and IgM MAZ sites lie within sequences that have activity in a termination assay and, furthermore, mutation of C2 or g11 MAZ sites severely reduces termination activity. MAZ bends DNA, and inherently bent DNA is highly active as a terminator, suggesting that MAZ-induced bending is important for C2 and g11 termination. We propose that MAZ sites exist in promoters which require protection against transcriptional interference, such as those of closely spaced genes, to cause efficient termination. The MAZ consensus sequence will facilitate the identification of further sites.

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