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Paper Chase

DNA-bound Fos proteins activate transcription in yeast.

Cell. Jan 29, 1988;52(2):179-84.
Lech K, Anderson K, Brent R.

Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


We constructed genes encoding the DNA binding region of the bacterial LexA repressor fused to the v-fos and c-fos oncogene products. The resulting LexA-Fos fusion proteins activated transcription in yeast. Transcription activation by these proteins was as strong as transcription activation by proteins native to yeast. LexA-Fos fusion proteins only activated transcription of genes when they were bound to LexA binding sites inserted upstream of those genes. Transcription was activated less strongly by similar proteins in which the DNA binding region of LexA was fused to vMyc and cMyc. Transcription was not activated by native LexA or by proteins containing the DNA binding domain of LexA fused to bacteriophage 434 repressor or yeast MAT alpha 2 protein. These results demonstrate that Fos proteins activate eukaryotic gene expression when they are bound to promoter DNA, and thus suggest that Fos proteins exert some of their effects because they stimulate transcription of cellular genes. Regulation of transcription by Fos and Myc proteins in yeast provides a phenotype that may facilitate genetic analysis of the function of these proteins in higher organisms.