Meis proteins are major in vivo DNA binding partners for wild-type but not chimeric Pbx proteins

Ching Pin Chang, Yakop Jacobs, Takuro Nakamura, Nancy A. Jenkins, Neal G. Copeland, Michael L. Cleary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

211 Scopus citations


The Pbx1 and Meis1 proto-oncogenes code for divergent homeodomain proteins that are targets for oncogenic mutations in human and murine leukemias, respectively, and implicated by genetic analyses to functionally collaborate with Hbx proteins during embryonic development and/or oncogenesis. Although Pbx proteins have been shown to dimerize with Hbx proteins and modulate their DNA binding properties in vitro, the biochemical compositions of endogenous Pbx-containing complexes have not been determined. In the present study, we demonstrate that Pbx and Meis proteins form abundant complexes that comprise a major Pbx-containing DNA binding activity in nuclear extracts of cultured cells and mouse embryos. Pbx1 and Meis1 dimerize in solution and cooperatively bind bipartite DNA sequences consisting of directly adjacent Pbx and Meis half sites. Pbx1-Meis1 heterodimers display distinctive DNA binding specificities and cross-bind to a subset of Pbx-Hox sites, including those previously implicated as response elements for the execution of Pbx-dependent Hbx programs in vivo. Chimeric oncoprotein E2a- Pbx1 is unable to bind DNA with Meis1, due to the deletion of amino-terminal Pbx1 sequences following fusion with E2a. We conclude that Meis proteins are preferred in vivo DNA binding partners for wild-type Pbx1, a relationship that is circumvented by its oncogenic counterpart E2a-Pbx1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5679-5687
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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