KLF7, a member of the Krüppel-like transcription factor family, is believed to regulate neurogenesis and cell cycle progression. Here, a yeast two-hybrid screen for KLF7 cofactors in the developing nervous system identified a novel 140-kDa protein named MoKA, for modulator of KLF7 activity. Interaction between MoKA and KLF7 was confirmed by the in vitro glutathione S-transferase pull-down assay and by coimmunoprecipitation of the proteins overexpressed in mammalian cells. Functional assays documented that MoKA is a KLF7 coactivator, and in situ hybridizations identified the developing nervous system and the adult testes as two sites of MoKA and Klf7 coexpression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated KLF7 binding to the p21(WAF1/Cip1) gene while transient transfection assays documented KLF7 stimulation of the p21(WAF1/Cip1) proximal promoter. Additional tests revealed that distinct structural motifs of MoKA direct interaction with KLF7 and shuttling between the nucleus and cytoplasm of asynchronously cycling cells. Altogether, our results strongly suggest that MoKA and KLF7 interact functionally to regulate gene expression during cell differentiation and identify the cell cycle regulator p21(WAF1/Cip1) as one of the targeted genes.
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