The selective expression of the Xenopus TFIIIA gene in immature oocytes is principally regulated by a single 5′-flanking DNA sequence element, termed element 3 (i.e. E3). We describe the isolation and characterization of a cDNA for a protein present in immature Xenopus ooctyes, termed B3.65, which appears to bind to and activate E3-mediated expression. The approximate molecular weight of the E3 binding protein(s) was determined by ultraviolet light cross-linking analysis. B3.65, a protein of the appropriate molecular weight, was purified biochemically from immature Xenopus ooctye extracts by affinity chromatography. Antiserum to purified B3.65 super-shifted the E3 activator complex. In addition, B3.65 mRNA was found to be highly enriched in immature oocytes. All of these data are consistent with B3.65 either being the E3 activator, or antigenically related to the specific activator required for XenopusTFIIIA gene transcription. B3.65 is a member of the K-homologous (KH) domain family of proteins, with almost absolute identity to Xenopus Vg1 RBP/ VERA (97%) and significant similarity to human koc (82%). The koc mRNA is over-expressed in human pancreatic cancer tissues, and B3.65 mRNA was detected in Xenopus pancreas and kidney. Interestingly, KH proteins, like Vg1RBP/VERA, are most commonly associated with RNA metabolism, in their capacity to regulate RNA localization, stability, and translation. Our results suggest that B3.65 is a key regulator of both RNA- and DNA metabolism.
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