TIF1alpha: a possible link between KRAB zinc finger proteins and nuclear receptors

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1998 Apr;65(1-6):43-50. doi: 10.1016/s0960-0760(97)00175-1.


Ligand-induced gene activation by nuclear receptors (NRs) is thought to be mediated by transcriptional intermediary factors (TIFs), that interact with their ligand-dependent AF-2 activating domain. Included in the group of the putative AF-2 TIFs identified so far is TIF1alpha, a member of a new family of proteins which contains an N-terminal RBCC (RING finger-B boxes-coiled coil) motif and a C-terminal bromodomain preceded by a PHD finger. In addition to these conserved domains present in a number of transcriptional regulatory proteins, TIF1alpha was found to contain several protein-protein interaction sites. Of these, one specifically interacts with NRs bound to their agonistic ligand and not with NR mutants that are defective in the AF-2 activity. Immediately adjacent to this 'NR box', TIF1alpha contains an interaction site for members of the chromatin organization modifier (chromo) family, HP1alpha and MOD1, which both are heterochromatinic proteins. Finally, TIF1alpha also has a binding site for KRAB silencing domains of C2H2 zinc finger proteins. TIF1beta, another member of the TIF1 gene family, has some interacting partners in common with TIF1alpha. TIF1beta can interact with HP1alpha, MOD1 and KRAB domains, but apparently not with NRs. Both TIF1alpha and TIF1beta repress transcription when fused to a DNA binding domain in transiently transfected mammalian cells. A model discussing the potential function(s) of TIF1s in the control of transcription at the level of the chromatin template will be presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Mice
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Tripartite Motif-Containing Protein 28
  • Zinc Fingers*


  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • ZNF10 protein, human
  • transcriptional intermediary factor 1
  • heterochromatin-specific nonhistone chromosomal protein HP-1
  • Trim28 protein, mouse
  • Tripartite Motif-Containing Protein 28