COUP transcription factor is a member of the steroid receptor superfamily

Nature. 1989 Jul 13;340(6229):163-6. doi: 10.1038/340163a0.


The COUP (chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter) transcription factor (COUP-TF) exists in a number of different tissues and is essential for expression of the chicken ovalbumin gene. It binds to the ovalbumin promoter and, in conjunction with a second protein (S300-II), stimulates initiation of transcription in vitro. COUP-TF also binds specifically to the rat insulin promoter element, although the two binding sites share little sequence similarity. Here we report the isolation of a human complementary DNA clone encoding COUP-TF. Comparison of the amino-acid sequence of COUP-TF with known sequences reveals that it is a member of the steroid/thyroid hormone/vitamin receptor superfamily. Consequently, it is the first member of this family that has been shown to function in a cell-free transcription system. We conclude that this superfamily of gene regulators contains proteins which bind and activate distal promoter elements of eukaryotic genes.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • COUP Transcription Factor I
  • Chickens
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Ovalbumin / genetics*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Receptors, Steroid / genetics*
  • Receptors, Steroid / isolation & purification
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / isolation & purification


  • COUP Transcription Factor I
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Transcription Factors
  • Ovalbumin