In an effort to better understand the mechanism of toxicity of 2,3,7,8- tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, we employed an iterative search of human expressed sequence tags to identify novel basic-helix-loop-helix-PAS (bHLH- PAS) proteins that interact with either the Ah receptor (AHR) or the Ah receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT). We characterized five new 'members of the PAS superfamily,' or MOPs 1-5, that are similar in size and structural organization to the AHR and ARNT. MOPs 1-4 have N-terminal bHLH and PAS domains and C-terminal variable regions. MOP5 contained the characteristic PAS domain and a variable C terminus; it is possible that the cDNA contains a bHLH domain, but the entire open reading frame has yet to be completed. Coimmunoprecipitation studies, yeast two-hybrid analysis, and transient transfection experiments demonstrated that MOP1 and MOP2 dimerize with ARNT and that these complexes are transcriptionally active at defined DNA enhancer sequences in vivo. MOP3 was found to associate with the AHR in vitro but not in vivo. This observation, coupled with the fact that MOP3 formed tighter associations with the 90-kDa heat shock protein than the human AHR, suggests that MOP3 may be a conditionally active bHLH-PAS protein that requires activation by an unknown ligand. The expression profiles of the AHR, MOP1, and MOP2 mRNAs, coupled with the observation that they all share ARNT as a common dimeric partner, suggests that the cellular pathways mediated by MOP1 and MOP2 may influence or respond to the dioxin signaling pathway.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology