Microphthalmia.associated transcription factor (MITF) is essential for melanocyte differentiation. MITF mutations are associated with some cases of Waardenburg syndrome (WS) type 2. WS is a dominantly inherited disease characterized by auditory-pigmentary defects that result from the absence of melanocytes. The lack of mutation in MITF coding sequences in some WS2 patients suggests that unidentified factors controlling MITF expression might be involved. We show here that the cut-homeodomain transcription factor Onecut-2 (OC-2) is expressed in melanocytes and binds to the MITF gene promoter. Overexpression of OC-2 in transfected cells stimulates MITF promoter activity. Mutations that prevent OC-2 binding decrease MITF promoter activity by 75%. Based on these results, we searched in 56 WS2 patients for mutations in the OC2 gene or in OC-2 binding sites in the MITF promoter, but none was found. These results show that OC-2 stimulates MITF expression and that OC2 is a candidate gene, but not a common cause, of WS. © 2001 Academic Press.
|Number of pages
|Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
|Published - 2001
- Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor
- Waardenburg syndrome