Extensive alternative splicing and dual promoter usage generate Tcf-1 protein isoforms with differential transcription control properties

Marc Van De Wetering, Jan Castrop, Vladimir Korinek, Hans Clevers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previously, we reported the isolation of cDNA clones representing four alternative splice forms of TCF-1, a T-cell-specific transcription factor. In the present study, Western blotting (immunoblotting) yielded a multitude of TCF-1 proteins ranging from 25 to 55 kDa, a pattern not simply explained from the known splice alternatives. Subsequent cDNA cloning, PCR amplification, and analysis by rapid amplification of 5' cDNA ends revealed (i) the presence of an alternative upstream promoter, which extended the known N terminus by 116 amino acids, (ii) the presence of four alternative exons, and (iii) the existence of a second reading frame in the last exon encoding an extended C terminus. Inclusion of the extended N terminus into the originally reported protein resulted in a striking similarity to the lymphoid factor Lef-1. Several of the TCF-1 isoforms, although less potent, mimicked Lef-1 in transactivating transcription through the T-cell receptor α-chain (TCR-α) enhancer. These data provide a molecular basis for the complexity of the expressed TCF-1 proteins and establish the existence of functional differences between these isoforms. Furthermore, the functional redundancy between Tcf-1 and Lef-1 explains the apparently normal TCR-α expression in single Tcf-1 or Lef-1 knockout mice despite the firm in vitro evidence for the importance of the Tcf/Lef site in the TCR-α enhancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-752
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes

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