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The human interferon-inducible protein, IFI 16, is a repressor of transcription.

Johnstone RW, Kerry JA, Trapani JA

  • Journal The Journal of biological chemistry

  • Published 06 Aug 1998

  • Volume 273

  • ISSUE 27

  • Pagination 17172-7

  • DOI 10.1074/jbc.273.27.17172


IFI 16 is a member of a family of interferon-inducible proteins, including the human MNDA (myeloid nuclear differentiation antigen), the recently identified AIM-2 (absent in melanoma), and the homologous murine molecules, p202, p204, and D3. IFI 16 contains a domain at the amino terminus capable of binding double-stranded DNA and a bipartite nuclear localization signal. No molecular or biological function has been assigned to any of the human family members, although a role in transcription regulation has been proposed. In the present study, we show IFI 16 fused to the GAL4 DNA binding domain can function as a transcriptional repressor. IFI 16-mediated repression is not dependent on the position or distance of IFI 16 binding, relative to the site of transcription initiation, and it can significantly repress when only one GAL4 DNA element is present in the promoter. We mapped the transcriptional repression domains to the 200 amino acid repeat regions common to all human and mouse family members. We also demonstrate that wild type IFI 16 can repress transcription of a reporter gene containing the minimal promoter region of the human cytomegalovirus UL54 gene. Thus, IFI 16 is a transcriptional repressor, with a modular structure typical of many known transcription regulators.