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Oncogene. 1998 Aug 6;17(5):611-23.

E2F-6: a novel member of the E2F family is an inhibitor of E2F-dependent transcription.

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European Institute of Oncology, Department of Experimental Oncology, Milan, Italy.


The E2F family of transcription factors are essential for the regulation of genes required for appropriate progression through the cell cycle. Five members of the E2F family have been previously reported, namely E2F1-5. All five are key elements in transcriptional regulation of essential genes, and they can be divided into two functional groups, those that induce S-phase progression when overexpressed in quiescent cells (E2Fs 1-3), and those that do not (E2Fs 4-5). Here, we describe the identification of a novel member of this family, which we refer to as E2F-6. E2F-6 shares significant homology with E2Fs 1-5, especially within the DNA binding, heterodimerization and marked box domains. Unlike E2Fs 1-5, E2F-6 lacks a transactivation and a pocket protein binding domain, hence, forms a unique third group within the E2F family. E2F-6 is a nuclear protein that can form heterodimers with the DP proteins (both DP-I and DP-2) in vitro and in vivo. Our results show that the complex formed between E2F-6 and the DP proteins, possesses high DNA binding activity, displaying a preference for a TTTCCCGC E2F recognition site, which is slightly different to the E2F consensus site derived from the E2 promoter (TTTCGCGC). In contrast to the other members of the E2F family, ectopic expression of E2F-6 inhibits transcription from promoters possessing E2F recognition sites rather than activating transcription. In addition, overexpression of E2F-6 suppresses the transactivational effects of coexpression of E2F-1 and DP-1. The inhibitory effect of E2F-6 is dependent on its DNA binding activity and its ability to form heterodimers with the DPs. Interestingly, ectopic expression of E2F-6 leads to accumulation of cells in S-phase. Our data suggest that E2F-6 expression delays the exit from S-phase rather than inducing S-phase, which further emphasizes the functional difference between E2F-6 and the previously known E2F family members.

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