Small Maf proteins are obligatory heterodimeric partner molecules of mammalian Cap'n'Collar proteins that together control a wide variety of eukaryotic genes. Although both MafK and MafG are expressed in overlapping but distinct tissue distribution patterns during embryonic development, the physiological consequences of loss-of-function mutations in either gene are modest. This suggested that compensation by the third small Maf protein, MafF, might be a major reason for such mild phenotypes and that further analysis of MafF might therefore provide important insights for understanding small Maf regulatory function(s). We therefore cloned, mapped, transcriptionally and developmentally characterized, and finally disrupted the mafF gene. We show that murine mafF is transcriptionally regulated by three different promoters and is most abundantly expressed in the lung. The lacZ gene inserted into the mafF locus revealed prominent expression sites in the gut, lung, liver, outflow tract of the heart, cartilage, bone membrane, and skin but not in hematopoietic cells at any developmental stage. Homozygous mafF null mutant mice were born in a normal Mendelian ratio and displayed no obvious functional deficiencies, indicating that MafF activity may be dispensable even in tissues where the expression of other small Maf proteins is quite low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21162-21169
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jul 23


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