M-CAT motifs mediate muscle-specific transcriptional activity via interaction with binding factors that are antigenically and biochemically related to vertebrate transcription enhancer factor-1 (TEF-1), a member of the TEA/ATTS domain family of transcription factors. M-CAT binding activities present in cardiac and skeletal muscle tissues cannot be fully accounted for by existing cloned isoforms of TEF-1. TEF-1-related cDNAs isolated from heart libraries indicate that at least three classes of TEF-1-related cDNAs are expressed in these and other tissues. One class are homologues of the human TEF-1 originally cloned from HeLa cells (Xiao, J. H., Davidson, I., Matthes, H., Garnier, J. M., and Chambon, P. (1991) Cell 65, 551-568). A second class represents homologues of the avian TEF-1-related gene previously isolated (Stewart, A. F., Larkin, S. B., Farrance, I. K., Mar, J. H., Hall, D. E., and Ordahl, C. P. (1994) J. Biol. Chem. 269, 3147-3150). The third class consists of a novel, divergent TEF-1 cDNA, named DTEF-1, and its preliminary characterization is described here. Two isoforms of DTEF-1 (DTEF-1A and DTEF- 1B) were isolated as 1.9-kilobase pair clones with putative open reading frames of 433 and 432 amino acids whose differences are attributable to alternative splicing at the C terminus of the TEA DNA binding domain. Cardiac muscle contains high levels of DTEF-1 transcripts, but unexpectedly low levels are detected in skeletal muscle. DTEF-1 transcripts are present at intermediate levels in gizzard and lung, and at low levels in kidney. DTEF- 1A is a sequence-specific M-CAT-binding factor. The distinct spatial pattern of expression, and unusual amino acid sequence in its DNA binding domain, may indicate a particular role for DTEF-1 in cell-specific gene regulation. Recent work also suggests that at least one more TEF-1-related gene exists in vertebrates. We propose a naming system for the four TEF-1 gene family members identified to date that preserves existing nomenclature and provides a means for extending that nomenclature as additional family members may be identified.
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