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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor interacts with LEF-1, a mediator of Wnt signaling.

Wnt signals regulate differentiation of neural crest cells through the beta-catenin associated with a nuclear mediator of the lymphoid-enhancing factor 1 (LEF-1)/T-cell factors (TCFs) family. Here we show the interaction between the basic helix-loop-helix and leucine-zipper region of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) and LEF-1. MITF is essential for melanocyte differentiation and its heterozygous mutations cause auditory-pigmentary syndromes. Functional cooperation of MITF with LEF-1 results in synergistic transactivation of the dopachrome tautomerase ( DCT) gene promoter, an early melanoblast marker. This activation depends on the separate cis-acting elements, which are also responsible for the induction of the DCT promoter by lithium chloride that mimics Wnt signaling. beta-catenin is required for efficient transactivation, but dispensable for the interaction between MITF and LEF-1. The interaction with MITF is unique to LEF-1 and not detectable with TCF-1. LEF-1 also cooperates with the MITF-related proteins, such as TFE3, to transactivate the DCT promoter. This study therefore suggests that the MITF/TFE3 family is a new class of nuclear modulators for LEF-1, which may ensure efficient propagation of Wnt signals in many types of cells.[1]


  1. Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor interacts with LEF-1, a mediator of Wnt signaling. Yasumoto, K., Takeda, K., Saito, H., Watanabe, K., Takahashi, K., Shibahara, S. EMBO J. (2002) [Pubmed]
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