The inducible, T cell-specific enhancers of murine and human Interleukin 2 (II-2) genes contain the kB-like sequence GGGATTTCACC as an essential cis-acting enhancer motif. When cloned in multiple copies this socalled TCEd (distal T cell element) acts as an inducible proto-enhancer element in El4 T lymphoma cells, but not in HeLa cells. In extracts of induced, II-2 secreting El4 cells three individual protein factors bind to TCEd DNA. The binding of the most prominent factor, named TCF-1 (T cell factor 1), is correlated with the protoenhancer activity of TCEd. TCF-1 consists of two polypeptides of about 50kD and 105kD; the former seems to be related to the 50kD polypeptide of NF-kB. Purified NF-kB is also able to bind to the TCEd, but TCF-1 binds stronger than NF-kB to TCEd DNA. The conversion of the TCEd to a 'perfect' NF-kB binding site leads to a tighter binding of NF-kB to TCEd DNA and, as a functional consequence, to the activity of the converted' TCEd motifs in HeLa cells. Thus, the substitution of the underlined A residue to a C within the GGGATTTCACC motif abolishes its T cell-restricted activity and leads to its functioning in both El4 cells and MeLa cells. These results indicate that lymphocyte-specific factors binding to the TCEd are involved in the control of T cell specific-transcription of the II-2 gene.
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