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Keywords:

  • chondrogenesis;
  • collagen2;
  • Sox5;
  • Sox6;
  • Sox9

Transcripts for a new form of Sox5, called L-Sox5, and Sox6 are coexpressed with Sox9 in all chondrogenic sites of mouse embryos. A coiled-coil domain located in the N-terminal part of L-Sox5, and absent in Sox5, showed >90% identity with a similar domain in Sox6 and mediated homodimerization and heterodimerization with Sox6. Dimerization of L-Sox5/Sox6 greatly increased efficiency of binding of the two Sox proteins to DNA containing adjacent HMG sites. L-Sox5, Sox6 and Sox9 cooperatively activated expression of the chondrocyte differentiation marker Col2a1 in 10T1/2 and MC615 cells. A 48 bp chondrocyte-specific enhancer in this gene, which contains several HMG-like sites that are necessary for enhancer activity, bound the three Sox proteins and was cooperatively activated by the three Sox proteins in non-chondrogenic cells. Our data suggest that L-Sox5/Sox6 and Sox9, which belong to two different classes of Sox transcription factors, cooperate with each other in expression of Col2a1 and possibly other genes of the chondrocytic program.