The human embryonal carcinoma cells NEC14 can be induced to differentiate morphologically by the addition of 10(-2) M N, N'-hexamethylene-bis-acetamide and cease to grow in several days. Transcription factors of the E2F/DP family have been shown to be closely related to the regulation of cell proliferation. To analyse cellular proteins which interact with E2F in NEC14 cells, cDNA clones encoding E2F binding proteins were isolated from a lambdaZAP II NEC14 cell library with the 32P-labeled GST (Glutathione S-transferase)-E2F-1 fusion protein as a probe. One of the clones encodes E2FBP1 which has the helix-loop-helix (HLH) motif, but lacks the basic domain and the zipper structure usually found at N- and C-terminal sides to the HLH motif, respectively. The arrangement of amino acids in the helix 1 and helix 2 regions is quite similar to those of Mxi and Mad, but different from those of E2F-1 and DP-1. Western blot analysis of the immunoprecipitates prepared with anti-E2FBP1 antibody showed that E2FBP1 associates with both E2F-1 and DP-1 in vivo. E2FBP1 alone has no DNA binding activity, but bind to the E2F site through heterodimerization with E2F-1 but not with DP-1. Although E2FBP1 lacks the transactivation domain, it stimulates E2F site-dependent transcription in cooperation with E2F-1.
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