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Nucleic Acids Res. 1993 Dec 25;21(25):5921-9.

Mouse Brn-3 family of POU transcription factors: a new aminoterminal domain is crucial for the oncogenic activity of Brn-3a.

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Institut für Molekularbiologie und Tumorforschung (IMT), Philipps Universität Marburg, Germany.


The class IV POU domain genes Brn-3a, -b and -c are differentially expressed during neural development and at least Brn-3a also in neuroectodermal tumors. In contrast to Brn-3b and Brn-3c, Brn-3a encodes two protein variants: Brn-3a(l) and Brn-3a(s). Brn-3a(s) lacks 84 aminoterminal residues but is otherwise identical to Brn-3a(l). Outside the well conserved carboxyterminal POU domains all three Brn-3 proteins (-a, -b and -c) diverge until the aminoterminal end where a new domain of about 100 amino acids is identified. This domain is conserved only between Brn-3 proteins and other class IV POU factors. Brn-3a(l) that contains the complete domain but not Brn-3a(s) that lacks 84 amino acids of it is able to tumorigenically transform primary fibroblasts. Brn-3b that lacks 40 amino acids of the new domain does itself not transform, but abolishes the oncogenic potential of Brn-3a(l) when transfected together. This demonstrates not only that Brn3-a(l) is a proto-oncogene and may well be causally involved in the generation of neuroectodermal tumors but also suggests that the intactness of the new aminoterminal domain described here is crucial for oncogenic activity. In addition, our data indicate that Brn-3b acts as an inhibitor of Brn-3a(l) activity.

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