Multiprotein bridging factor 1 (MBF1) is a coactivator which mediates transcriptional activation by interconnecting the general transcription factor TATA element-binding protein and gene-specific activators such as the Drosophila nuclear receptor FTZ-F1 or the yeast basic leucine zipper protein GCN4. The human homolog of MBF1 (hMBF1) has been identified but its function, especially in transcription, remains unclear. Here we report the cDNA cloning and functional analysis of hMBF1. Two isoforms, which we term hMBF1α and hMBF1β, have been identified, hMBF1α mRNA was detected in a number of tissues, whereas hMBF1β exhibited tissue-specific expression. Both isoforms bound to TBP and Ad4BP/SF-1, a mammalian counterpart of FTZF1, and mediated Ad4BP/SF-1-dependent transcriptional activation. While hMBF1 was detected in the cytoplasm by immunostaining, coexpression of the nuclear protein Ad4BP/SF-1 with hMBF1 induced accumulation of hMBF1 in the nucleus, suggesting that hMBF1 is localized in the nucleus through its binding to Ad4BP/SF-1. hMBF1 also bound to ATF1, a member of the basic leucine zipper protein family, and mediated its activity as a transcriptional activator. These data establish that the coactivator MBF1 is functionally conserved in eukaryotes.
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