Activity and tissue-specific expression of the transcription factor NF-E1 multigene family

Masayuki Yamamoto, Linda J. Ko, Mark W. Leonard, Hartmut Beug, Stuart H. Orkin, James Douglas Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

451 Citations (Scopus)


NF-E1, a DNA-binding protein that recognizes the general consensus motif WGATAR, is the first tissue-specific factor to be identified in erythroid cells. Using a probe from the murine GF-1 (NF-E1) cDNA clone, we isolated three homologous chicken cDNAs: One of these corresponds to an mRNA (NF-E1a) that is abundantly and exclusively expressed in erythroid cells; a second mRNA (NF-E1b) is also expressed in all developmental stages of erythroid cells but is additionally found in a limited subset of other chicken tissues; mRNA representative of a third gene (NF-E1c) is expressed only in definitive (adult) erythrocytes within the red cell lineage but is also abundantly expressed in T lymphocytes and brain. All NF-E1 proteins are highly conserved within the DNA-binding domain and bind to the consensus motif with similar affinities in vitro; they are also all stimulatory trans-acting factors in vivo. The factors differ quantitatively in their ability to trans-activate reporter genes in which the number and position of cognate binding sites is varied relative to the transcriptional initiation site. These data suggest that the NF-E1 consensus motif directs a broader and more complicated array of developmental transcriptional regulatory processes than has been assumed and that NF-E1c may play a unique regulatory role in the developing chicken brain and in T lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1650-1662
Number of pages13
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Erythroid cell
  • T cell
  • Trans-activation
  • Transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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