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EMBO J. 1996 Jun 3;15(11):2781-90.

The B cell coactivator Bob1 shows DNA sequence-dependent complex formation with Oct-1/Oct-2 factors, leading to differential promoter activation.

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Institute of Molecular Biology II, University of Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


We have shown previously that both octamer binding transcription factors, namely the ubiquitous Oct-1 and the B cell-specific Oct-2A protein, can be enhanced in transcriptional activity by their association with the B cell-specific coactivator protein Bob1, also called OBF-1 or OCA-B. Here we study the structural requirements for ternary complex formation of DNA-Oct-Bob1 and coactivation function of Bob1. In analogy to DNA-bound transcription factors, Bob1 has a modular structure that includes an interaction domain (amino acids 1-65) and a C-terminal domain (amino acids 65-256), both important for transcriptional activation. A mutational analysis has resolved a region of seven amino acids (amino acids 26-32) in the N-terminus of Bob1 that are important for contacting the DNA binding POU domain of Oct-1 or Oct-2. In contrast to the viral coactivator VP16 (vmw65), which interacts with Oct-1 via the POU homeosubdomain, Bob1 association with Oct factors requires residues located in the POU-specific subdomain. Because the same residues are also involved in DNA recognition, we surmised that this association would affect the DNA binding specificity of the Oct-Bob1 complex compared with free Oct factors. While Oct-1 or Oct-2 bind to a large variety of octamer sequences, Bob1 ternary complex formation is indeed highly selective and occurs only in a subset of these sequences, leading to the differential coactivation of octamer-containing promoters. The results uncover a new level in selectivity that furthers our understanding in the regulation of cell type-specific gene expression.

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