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The N-terminal domain unique to the long form of the Brn-3a transcription factor is essential to protect neuronal cells from apoptosis and for the activation of Bbcl-2 gene expression.

Smith M.D., Dawson S.J., Boxer L.M., Latchman D.S.

The ability of the POU family transcription factor Brn-3a to stimulate neurite outgrowth and the expression of the genes encoding neuronal proteins such as the neurofilaments and SNAP-25 has previously been shown to be dependent upon the C-terminal POU domain which can mediate both DNA binding and transcriptional activation. We show here, however, that the ability of Brn-3a to activate Bcl-2 expression and protect neuronal cells from apoptosis (programmed cell death) requires a distinct N-terminal activation domain. Bcl-2 gene activation and protection from apoptosis are thus produced only by the long form of Brn-3a which contains this domain and not by a naturally occurring short form lacking this domain or by the isolated POU domain, although all these forms of Brn-3a can stimulate neurite outgrowth. Hence Brn-3a is a multi-functional transcription factor with different regions of the factor mediating its different effects and two distinct forms with different properties being generated by alternative splicing.

Nucleic Acids Res. 26:4100-4107(1998) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]