Mlx, a new Max-like bHLHZip family member: The center stage of a novel transcription factors regulatory pathway?

Germana Meroni, Stefano Cairo, Giuseppe Merla, Silvia Messali, Roger Brent, Andrea Ballabio, Alexandre Reymond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Myc proto-oncogene family members have been identified as the cellular homologs of the transforming oncogene of avian retroviruses. They encode central regulators of mammalian cell proliferation and apoptosis, and they associate with the bHLHZip protein Max to bind specific DNA sequences and regulate the expression of genes important for cell cycle progression. The other family members, Mad1, Mxi1, Mad3, Mad4 and Rox (Mnt) antagonize their activities. The Mads and Rox compete with Myc in heterodimerizing with Max and in binding to the same specific target sequences. These Mads:Max and Rox:Max dimers repress transcription through binding to the mSIN3 corepressor protein and by tethering histone deacetylase-containing complexes to the DNA. In a screen for Rox interactors we isolated Mlx, a bHLHZip protein previously identified in a screen for Mad1 interactors. In the present work we extend the known dimerization partners of Mlx by demonstrating its ability to interact with Rox. Moreover, we show that contrary to previous reports Mlx is able to homodimerize and to bind E-box sequences at low concentration levels. The possible role of Mlx in an emerging regulatory pathway and acting parallel to the Max driven network is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3266-3277
Number of pages12
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - Jul 6 2000


  • bHLHZip
  • Cell proliferation
  • Max
  • Myc
  • Rox

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics


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