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Cell. 1993 Apr 23;73(2):395-406.

Functional analysis of a growth factor-responsive transcription factor complex.

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Transcription Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, England.


Serum response factor (SRF) forms a ternary complex at the c-fos serum response element (SRE) with an accessory factor, Elk-1. We constructed altered-binding specificity derivatives of SRF and Elk-1 that form a ternary complex at a mutated, inactive SRE; like Elk-1, the Elk-1 variant only binds its target as part of a ternary complex with SRF. Simultaneous expression of these SRF and Elk-1 derivatives restores serum-regulated activity to the mutated SRE in transfected cells. Efficient transcriptional activation is dependent on the regulated phosphorylation of Elk-1 C-terminal MAP kinase sites and requires the C-terminal sequences of SRF as well as SRF sequences that mediate ternary complex formation. These experiments provide direct evidence that SRF and Elk-1 functionally cooperate in the ternary complex at the SRE to regulate transcription.

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