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Transcriptional repression by the basic helix-loop-helix protein Dec2: Multiple mechanisms through E-box elements

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Dec2, a member of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) superfamily, has been shown to function as a transcriptional repressor and is implicated in cell proliferation and differentiation. In addition, Dec2 transcripts exhibit a striking circadian oscillation in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. To identify the molecular mechanisms by which Dec2 regulates gene expression, we carried out structure-function analyses. Gel retardation and luciferase assays showed that Dec2, as well as its related protein Dec1, preferentially binds to class B E-box elements (CACGTG) as a homodimer and represses the transcription of target genes in a histone deacetylase (HDAC)-dependent manner. Functional studies with the GAL4-DNA binding domain fusion proteins identified the domain responsible for the repression activity of Dec2 in its C-terminal region, which is also necessary to recruit HDAC1. In addition, the basic and HLH domains of Dec2 were required for DNA binding and homodimerization, respectively. In contrast, Dec proteins repressed a MyoD-activated promoter activity of muscle creatine kinase gene through class A E-box in an HDAC1-independent manner. Dec2 formed a heterodimer with MyoD through the basic and HLH domains. Consistent with this, both the basic and HLH domains were required for the ability of Dec2 to inhibit the transcriptional activity of MyoD. These findings indicate that Dec2 employs multiple mechanisms, including DNA-binding and protein-protein interactions, to achieve E-box-dependent transcriptional repressions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Dental and Medical Biochemistry, Hiroshima University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Hiroshima 734-8553, Japan

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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