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Plant Cell. 1997 Sep;9(9):1607-19.

PCF1 and PCF2 specifically bind to cis elements in the rice proliferating cell nuclear antigen gene.

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National Institute of Agrobiological Resources, Ibaraki, Japan.


We have previously defined the promoter elements, sites IIa and IIb, in the rice proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) gene that are essential for meristematic tissue-specific expression. In this study, we isolated and characterized cDNAs encoding proteins that specifically bind to sites IIa and IIb. The two DNA binding proteins, designated PCF1 and PCF2, share > 70% homology in common conserved sequences at the N-terminal regions. The conserved regions are responsible for DNA binding and homodimer and heterodimer formation, and they contain a putative basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) motif. The structure and DNA binding specificity of the bHLH motif are distinguishable from those of other known bHLH proteins that bind to the E-box. The motif is > 70% homologous to several expressed sequence tags from Arabidopsis and rice, suggesting that PCF1 and PCF2 are members of a novel family of proteins that are conserved in monocotyledons and dicotyledons. A supershift assay using an anti-PCF2 antibody showed the involvement of PCF2 in site IIa (site IIb) binding activities in rice nuclear extracts, particularly in meristematic tissues. PCF1 and PCF2 were also more likely to form heterodimers than homodimers. Our results suggest that PCF1 and PCF2 are involved in meristematic tissue-specific expression of the rice PCNA gene through binding to sites IIa and IIb and formation of homodimers or heterodimers.

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