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MAF, one of a family of large Maf bZIP transcription factors, is mutated in human developmental ocular disorders that include congenital cataract, microcornea, coloboma and anterior segment dysgenesis. Expressed early in the developing lens vesicle, it is central to regulation of lens crystallin gene expression. We report a semi-dominant mouse c-Maf mutation recovered after ENU mutatgenesis which results in the substitution, D90V, at a highly conserved residue within the N-terminal 35 amino-acid minimal transactivation domain (MTD). Unlike null and loss-of-function c-Maf mutations, which cause severe runting and renal abnormalities, the phenotype caused by the D90V mutation is isolated cataract. In reporter assays, D90V results in increased promoter activation, a situation similar to MTD mutations of NRL that also cause human disease. In contrast to wild-type protein, the c-Maf D90V mutant protein is not inhibited by protein kinase A-dependent pathways. The MTD of large Maf proteins has been shown to interact with the transcriptional co-activator p300 and we demonstrate that c-Maf D90V enhances p300 recruitment in a cell-type dependent manner. We observed the same for the pathogenic human NRL MTD mutation S50T, which suggests a common mechanism of action.

Original publication




Journal article


Hum Mol Genet

Publication Date





1030 - 1038


Amino Acid Substitution, Animals, Binding Sites, COS Cells, Cataract, Cell Line, Tumor, Cercopithecus aethiops, E1A-Associated p300 Protein, Humans, Lens, Crystalline, Mice, Mice, Mutant Strains, Mutation, Protein Binding, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-maf, Signal Transduction, Two-Hybrid System Techniques