We describe a facile method to activate or repress transcription of endogenous genes in a quantitative and specific manner by treatment with designed regulatory proteins (DRPs), in which artificial transcription factors (ATFs) are fused to cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs). Penetration of DRPs into cells is mediated by an N-terminal CPP fused to a nuclear localization signal; a DNA-binding domain and a transactivation domain follow. The DNA-binding domain was targeted to the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A gene. An agonist DRP was rapidly taken up by cells and transported to the nucleus; soon after, the cells began transcribing the gene and secreting VEGF-A protein in a dose-dependent manner. Multiple copies of a short oligopeptide derived from a minimal transactivation domain of human β-catenin was stronger than VP-16. The SRDX domain from the plant transcription factor, SUPERMAN, changed the DRP to a hypoxia-induced antagonist of VEGF-A. DRPs combine many of the potential benefits of transgenes with those of recombinant proteins.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 19 2004|
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