The presence of one or more TATATAA motifs in the flanking sequences of individual members of a multi-gene AGly1 family from the mulberry silkworm, Bombyx mori, negatively modulated the transcription of the gene copies. Characterization of proteins from posterior silk gland nuclear extracts, binding to the TATATAA motif, identified a novel 43kD protein, designated here as P43 TATA-box-binding factor (TBF). The protein was purified to homogeneity. P43 TBF binding was highly sequence-specific and showed a 100-fold-higher affinity for binding than the TATA-box-binding protein (TBP). The protein also showed binding to the TATAAA sequence of the actin5C promoter. P43 TBF inhibited transcription of all the tRNA genes examined, as well as RNA polymerase II transcription from the actin5C promoter. The amino acid sequence of eleven peptides generated from P43 TBF did not share homology with proteins that bind the TATA box, such as TBP, TRF (TBP-related factor) or TLFs (TBP-like factors) reported from other sources. Inhibition of transcription of tRNA genes by P43 TBF could not be reversed by TBP. The inhibitory effect appeared to be exerted through sequestration of the associated transcription factors.

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