Cloning of a negative transcription factor that binds to the upstream conserved region of moloney murine leukemia virus

James R. Flanagan, Kevin G. Becker, David L. Ennist, Shannon L. Gleason, Paul H. Driggers, Ben Zion Levi, Ettore Appella, Keiko Ozato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The long terminal repeat of Moloney murine leukemia virus (MuLV) contains the upstream conserved region (UCR). The UCR core sequence, CGCCATTTT, binds a ubiquitous nuclear factor and mediates negative regulation of MuLV promoter activity. We have isolated murine cDNA clones encoding a protein, referred to as UCRBP, that binds specifically to the UCR core sequence. Gel mobility shift assays demonstrate that the UCRBP fusion protein expressed in bacteria binds the UCR core with specificity identical to that of the UCR-binding factor in the nucleus of murine and human cells. Analysis of full-length UCRBP cDNA reveals that it has a putative zinc finger domain composed of four C2H2 zinc fingers of the GLI subgroup and an N-terminal region containing alternating charges, including a stretch of 12 histidine residues. The 2.4-kb UCRBP message is expressed in all cell lines examined (teratocarcinoma, B- and T-cell, macrophage, fibroblast, and myocyte), consistent with the ubiquitous expression of the UCR-binding factor. Transient transfection of an expressible UCRBP cDNA into fibroblasts results in down-regulation of MuLV promoter activity, in agreement with previous functional analysis of the UCR. Recently three groups have independently isolated human and mouse UCRBP. These studies show that UCRBP binds to various target motifs that are distinct from the UCR motif: the adeno-associated virus PS promoter and elements in the immunoglobulin light- and heavy-chain genes, as well as elements in ribosomal protein genes. These results indicate that UCRBP has unusually diverse DNA-binding specificity and as such is likely to regulate expression of many different genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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