Protein-binding sites in Ig gene enhancers determine transcriptional activity and inducibility

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Science  19 Jun 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4808, pp. 1573-1577
DOI: 10.1126/science.3109035


Individual protein-binding sites within the mouse immunoglobulin heavy chain and kappa light chain gene enhancers were altered, making it possible to examine the functional role of the sites during transcription. The E motifs, which bind factors that are present in many if not all cells, mostly behave as transcriptional activating sites. The only known heavy chain enhancer site that binds a lymphocyte-specific factor, the "octamer" site, plays a critical role in transcription but only in a truncated form of the enhancer. In the full enhancer, no one site is crucial because of an apparent functional redundancy. The site in the kappa enhancer that binds a factor specific to mature B cells, kappa B, was crucial to the constitutive activity of the enhancer in B cells. This factor is also inducible in pre-B cells, and the site was necessary for inducibility of the kappa enhancer. Thus, the sites defined by protein binding are important for the functional activity of immunoglobulin enhancers, with the sites that bind proteins restricted in their cellular distribution playing the most important roles.

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