Polyamines and polyamine analogues have been demonstrated to modulate the transcription of various genes. Spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) is transcriptionally regulated through the interaction of at least two trans-acting transcription factors, NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf-2) and PMF-1 (polyamine modulated factor-1). Nrf-2has previously been shown to regulate transcription of other genes through interactions between its C-terminal leucine zipper and the leucine-zipper region of other members of the small Maf protein family (the term ‘Maf’ is derived from musculoaponeurotic-fibrosarcoma virus). Here it is demonstrated that the interaction between Nrf-2 and PMF-1 is mediated through the binding of the leucine-zipper region of Nrf-2 and a C-terminal coiled-coil region of PMF-1 that does not contain a leucine zipper. Mutations that interrupt either the leucine zipper of Nrf-2 or the coiled-coil region of PMF-1 are demonstrated to alter the ability of these factors to interact, thus their ability to regulate the transcription of the SSAT gene is lost.

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