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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1998 Jun 29;247(3):710-5.

Identification of a novel isoform of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor that is enriched in retinal pigment epithelium.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Applied Physiology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Miyagi, Japan.


Mutations at the mouse locus encoding microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf) affect the development of many cell types, including retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), melanocytes, mast cells, and osteoclasts. Here we have identified a novel Mitf isoform, Mitf-a, and its human homologue MITF-A by cDNA cloning. MITF-A consists of 520 amino acid residues and differs in the amino-terminus from authentic melanocyte-type MITF (MITF-M). MITF-A mRNA is widely expressed and represents a predominant MITF isoform in cultured RPE cells, whereas MITF-M mRNA is exclusively expressed in melanocytes and melanoma cells. In situ hybridization analysis suggested that Mitf-a mRNA is enriched in the prospective RPE of mouse embryo. Moreover, transient cotransfection assays suggested that MITF-A activated transcription of the tyrosinase and tyrosinase-related protein 1 genes. MITF-A/Mitf-a therefore may play an important role in melanogenesis in RPE.

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