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Mol Cell Biol. 1998 Apr;18(4):2118-29.

The Schizosaccharomyces pombe mei4+ gene encodes a meiosis-specific transcription factor containing a forkhead DNA-binding domain.

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan.


The mei4+ gene of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe was cloned by functional complementation. The mei4 disruptant failed to complete meiosis-I but could proliferate normally. mei4+ was transcribed only in meiosis-proficient diploid cells after premeiotic DNA replication. The mei4+ open reading frame encodes a 57-kDa serine-rich protein comprised of 517 amino acids with a forkhead/HNF3 DNA-binding domain in the amino-terminal region. Transcription of spo6+, a gene required for sporulation, was dependent on the mei4+ function. Two copies of the GTAAAYA consensus sequence, proposed as the binding site for human forkhead proteins, were found in the promoter region of spo6+. A gel mobility shift assay demonstrated the sequence-dependent binding of the GST-Mei4 forkhead domain fusion protein to DNA fragments with one of the consensus elements. Deletion of this consensus element from the spo6 promoter abolished the transcription of spo6+ and resulted in a sporulation deficiency. One-hybrid assay of Mei4 which was fused to the Gal4 DNA-binding domain localized the transcriptional activation domain in the C-terminal 140 amino acids of Mei4. These results indicate that Mei4 functions as a meiosis-specific transcription factor of S. pombe.

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