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Summary

During mouse B-cell development, Pax5 is an essential transcription factor that acts as an activator of B-cell-specific genes and as a repressor of alternative lineage fates. The repressive function is mediated by the recruitment of members of the Groucho co-repressor family. Using an RNA display approach, we have isolated a transcript, called QD, specifically expressed in human pro-B and pre-B cells, which is derived from the human Groucho TLE4 gene. The QD transcript contains the first four TLE4 exons and an intronic sequence 3′ of exon 4, demonstrating that QD is a splice variant of TLE4. The putative resulting protein of 94 amino acids corresponds to approximately half of an N-terminal tetramerization domain. We also show specific expression of TLE4 transcripts in human B cells and of TLE4 proteins in B-cell nuclei. Moreover, we demonstrate that recombinant QD protein binds to the TLE4 Q domain and is able to abolish the TLE4/Pax5 interaction. Thus, QD could act as a negative regulator of TLE4 function, in early B-cell differentiation.