Cloning and characterization of the murine genes for bHLH-ZIP transcription factors TFEC and TFEB reveal a common gene organization for all MiT subfamily members

Genomics. 1999 Feb 15;56(1):111-20. doi: 10.1006/geno.1998.5588.


The microphthalmia-TFE (MiT) subfamily of basic helix-loop-helix leucine zipper (bHLH-ZIP) transcription factors, including TFE3, TFEB, TFEC, and Mitf, has been implicated in the regulation of tissue-specific gene expression in several cell lineages. In this report, we investigate the genomic organization and structural relatedness of MiT transcription factors. We characterized the gene for mTFEC, which covers a region of more than 50 kb and is composed of seven exons. Further, we cloned a cDNA for the murine TFEB homologue and characterized its genomic structure. The eight coding exons of mTFEB are distributed over a 6-kb region. A multiple alignment of amino acid sequences of known MiT subfamily members indicates undescribed, conserved N-terminal regions and common putative phosphorylation sites for TFE3, TFEB, and Mitf. Also, intron-exon borders for characterized MiT genes appear completely conserved. A new family member and closely related putative transcription factor in Caenorhabditis elegans was identified by database searches that show a similar genomic organization within the bHLH-ZIP region and the acidic domain. Evolutionary aspects and implications for structure-function relationships are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Helix-Loop-Helix Motifs / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Leucine Zippers / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Physical Chromosome Mapping
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • TFE3 protein, human
  • TFEC protein, human
  • Tcfeb protein, mouse
  • Tcfec protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tcfe3 protein, mouse

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF077742
  • GENBANK/AF079095