Takagi, Y., Kobayashi, M., Li, L., Suzuki, T., Nishikawa, K, and Yamamoto, M. (2004) MafT, a new member of the small Maf protein family in zebrafish. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 320(1):62-69.
Small Maf proteins play critical roles on morphogenesis and homeostasis through associating with CNC proteins. To date, three small Maf proteins, MafF, MafG, and MafK, have been reported in vertebrates, which share redundant functions. In this study, we tried to identify and characterize small Maf proteins in zebrafish to elucidate their conservation and diversity in the fish kingdom. We identified homolog genes of MafG and MafK but not MafF in zebrafish, indicating the former two are conserved among vertebrates. In addition, a novel type of small Maf protein MafT was identified. MafT protein bound MARE sequence as a homodimer or heterodimers with zebrafish Nrf2 or p45 Nfe2. Co-overexpression of MafT and Nrf2 synergistically activated MARE-mediated gene expression in zebrafish embryos. These results indicated that MafT is a new member of small Maf proteins and involved in the Nrf2-dependent gene regulation in cellular defense system.