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

A key transcription factor for eukaryotic initiation factor-2 alpha is strongly homologous to developmental transcription factors and may link metabolic genes to cellular growth and development.

In response to growth, metabolic, and other signals, eukaryotic cells regulate protein biosynthesis through post-translational mechanisms which target the alpha subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor-2 (eIF-2 alpha). Previous efforts to study transcriptional mechanisms underlying this regulation identified a novel transcription factor (alpha-Pal) for the eIF-2 alpha gene. To gain insights into the overall biological function of alpha-Pal, we cloned its cDNA. Sequence analysis of the encoded protein reveals that alpha-Pal is a putative bZIP transcription factor. Surprisingly, both the protein sequence and the DNA-recognition site (TGCGCATGCGCA) of this human protein are strongly homologous to those of two evolutionarily distant developmental transcription factors, P3A2 and ewg. Since P3A2 directs territory-specific transcription of muscle genes in sea urchin embryos, and ewg apparently directs transcription of flight muscle and neuronal genes in Drosophila embryos, it is likely that alpha-Pal directs similar gene transcription during human embryogenesis. In other studies, we also identified genes containing alpha-Pal-binding sequences as those involved in cellular proliferation, or the growth-responsive metabolic pathways, energy transduction, translation, and DNA replication/repair. Such data suggest that alpha-Pal also functions to modulate the transcription of metabolic genes required for cellular growth.[1]


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