Retinoblastoma protein (Rb) is an important regulator of vertebrate cell cycle and development. It functions through a direct interaction with protein factors involved in cell cycle progression and differentiation. In the present study we characterized a novel Rb-associated protein, Cream1, which bound to Rb specifically through a C-terminal region. Cream1 contained 959 amino acid residues and migrated as a protein of approx. 120 kDa on SDS/PAGE. It was a widely expressed nuclear protein with a nuclear localization signal resembling that of the large T antigen of simian virus 40. Its primary sequence was characteristic of five direct repeats that were similar to, but distinct from, those of TFII-I, a multifunctional transcription regulator. Three additional regions were also highly conserved in both proteins. Cream1 exhibited an activation activity that was attributed to its N-terminal portion when assayed in yeast. Its relationship with the muscle-enhancer-binding protein MusTRD1 further suggests a role in regulating gene expression. The structural gene, CREAM1, contained 27 exons and spanned more than 150 kb. It was located at human chromosome 7q11.23 in a region deleted for Williams' syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disease with multisystem abnormalities, implying its involvement in certain disorders. Taken together, our results suggest that Cream1 might serve as a positive transcription regulator under the control of Rb.

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