The transcription factor NF-E2, a heterodimeric protein complex composed of p45 and small Maf family proteins, is considered crucial for the regulation of erythroid gene expression and platelet formation. To facilitate the characterization of NF-E2 functions in human cells, rye isolated cDNAs encoding two members of the small Maf family, MafK and MafG. The human mafK and mafG genes encode proteins of 156 and 162 amino acid residues, respectively, whose deduced amino acid sequences show approximately 95% identity to their respective chicken counterparts. Expression of mafK mRNA is high in heart, skeletal muscle and placenta, whereas mafG mRNA is abundant in skeletal muscle and is moderately expressed in heart and brain. Both are expressed in all hematopoietic cell lines, including those of erythroid and megakaryocytic lineages. In electrophoretic gel mobility shift assays binding to NF-E2 sites was found to depend on formation of homodimers or heterodimers with p45 and p45-related CNC family proteins. The results suggest that the small Maf family proteins function in human cells through interaction with various basic-leucine zipper-type transcription factors.
- Small Maf