Photoreceptor cell-specific nuclear receptor (PNR) (NR2E3) acts as a sequence-specific repressor that controls neuronal differentiation in the developing retina. We identified a novel PNR co-repressor, Ret-CoR, that is expressed in the developing retina and brain. Biochemical purification of Ret-CoR identified a multiprotein complex that included E2F/Myb-associated proteins, histone deacetylases (HDACs) and NCoR/HDAC complex-related components. Ret-CoR appeared to function as a platform protein for the complex, and interacted with PNR via two CoRNR motifs. Purified Ret-CoR complex exhibited HDAC activity, co-repressed PNR transrepression function in vitro, and co-repressed PNR function in PNR target gene promoters, presumably in the retinal progenitor cells. Notably, the appearance of Ret-CoR protein was cell-cycle-stage-dependent (from G1 to S). Therefore, Ret-CoR appears to act as a component of an HDAC co-repressor complex that supports PNR repression function in the developing retina, and may represent a co-regulator class that supports transcriptional regulator function via cell-cycle-dependent expression.
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