Molecular cloning of a cDNA encoding human SPH-binding factor, a conserved protein that binds to the enhancer-like region of the U6 small nuclear RNA gene promoter. Academic Article uri icon


  • Many vertebrate small nuclear RNA gene promoters contain an SPH motif in their distal control regions that can confer transcriptional stimulation by RNA polymerase II or RNA polymerase III. Using the human U6 gene SPH motif as a probe, we isolated a cDNA encoding human SPH-binding factor (hSBF) from a HeLa cell expression library. The coding region of hSBF is almost identical to ZNF143, a 626 amino acid, seven zinc finger protein of previously unknown function. Furthermore, the predicted amino acid sequence of hSBF is highly homologous to Xenopus laevis and mouse Staf proteins, that bind to SPH motifs and stimulate transcription of selenocysteine tRNA gene promoters. Recombinant hSBF expressed in vitro or from Escherichia coli bound specifically to the human U6 gene SPH motif as shown by DNase I footprinting and electrophoretic mobility shift assays using various mutant SPH sites as competitors. Antibodies prepared against recombinant hSBF inhibited assembly of native SBF-DNA complexes. Immunodepleted HeLa S100 transcription extract no longer supported elevated levels of transcription by RNA polymerase III from a U6 promoter containing an SPH motif, whereas addition of recombinant hSBF protein to the immunodepleted extract reconstituted stimulated transcription.

published proceedings

  • Nucleic Acids Res

altmetric score

  • 9

author list (cited authors)

  • Rincon, J. C., Engler, S. K., Hargrove, B. W., & Kunkel, G. R

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Rincon, JC||Engler, SK||Hargrove, BW||Kunkel, GR

publication date

  • November 1998