We had previously shown that the ubiquitous Oct1 and the lymphoid-specific Oct2 transcription factors stimulate transcription at the level of stable preinitiation complex formation. We have therefore investigated whether the octamer binding proteins might physically interact with TBP, the TATA box binding protein component of the TFIID factor. By using several different experimental systems we show that TBP efficiently associates with Oct1 and Oct2. The interaction is direct and does not depend on the presence of DNA or additional proteins. N- and C-terminal deletions of the different proteins were used to localize the domains involved in the interaction. We show that the POU homeodomain of Oct2 and the evolutionarily conserved C-terminal core domain of TBP are both required and sufficient for the interaction. The Oct1 POU domain, which is highly homologous to the Oct2 POU domain, likewise mediates interaction with TBP. The interaction can also be observed in vivo, as TBP can be co-precipitated with Oct2 from co-transfected Cos1 cells and TBP co-immunoprecipitates with the endogenous Oct1 from HeLa cells. Co-transfection of human TBP and Oct2 expression vectors into B cells resulted in a synergistic activation of an octamer motif containing promoter.
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