The mouse MRF4 promoter is trans-activated directly and indirectly by muscle-specific transcription factors

B. L. Black, J. F. Martin, E. N. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


MRF4 is a member of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) family of muscle- specific transcription factors, which also includes MyoD, myogenin, and myf5. The myocyte enhancer binding factor 2 (MEF2) proteins also serve as important muscle-specific transcription factors. In addition to activating the expression of many muscle-specific structural genes, various members of these two classes of proteins activate their own expression and the expression of each other in a complex transcriptional network that results in the establishment and maintenance of the muscle phenotype. To begin to determine how the expression of MRF4 is regulated by other muscle-specific transcription factors, we have isolated a region of the MRF4 gene that confers muscle-specific expression and have analyzed this promoter region for cis-acting elements involved in transactivation by the myogenic bHLH and MEF2 transcription factors. Here, we show that in 10T 1/2 fibroblasts the MRF4 promoter is transactivated by myogenin, MyoD, myf5, and by the MEF2 factors, but that MRF4 does not activate expression of its own promoter. Myogenin activated the MRF4 promoter directly by an E box-dependent mechanism, while MEF2 factors activated the promoter through an indirect pathway. The E box- dependent regulation of the MRF4 promoter is in contrast to the regulation of the myogenin and MyoD promoters and may represent a mechanism for the differential expression of these factors during myogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2889-2892
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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