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Reference: Stark MR and Johnson AD (1994) Interaction between two homeodomain proteins is specified by a short C-terminal tail. Nature 371(6496):429-32

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Abstract


Two yeast homeodomain proteins, a1 and alpha 2, interact and cooperatively bind the haploid-specific gene (hsg) operator, resulting in the repression of a set of genes involved in the determination of cell type. The cooperative binding of a1 and alpha 2 to DNA can be reconstituted in vitro using purified fragments of a1 and alpha 2. Only the homeodomain is needed for a1, but for alpha 2 a C-terminal 22-amino-acid tail is required as well. As most of the specificity of DNA binding appears to derive from a1, we proposed that alpha 2 functions in the a1/alpha 2 heterodimer to contact a1 with its tail. By construction and analysis of several chimaeric proteins, we investigate how two DNA-binding proteins, one with low intrinsic specificity (alpha 2) and one with no apparent intrinsic DNA-binding ability (a1), can together create a highly specific DNA-binding activity. We show that the 22-amino-acid region of alpha 2 immediately C-terminal to the homeodomain, when grafted onto the a1 homeodomain, converts a1 to a strong DNA-binding protein. This alpha 2 tail can also be attached to the Drosophila engrailed homeodomain, and the chimaeric protein now binds cooperatively to DNA with a1, showing how a simple change can create a new homeodomain combination that specifically recognizes a new DNA operator.

Reference Type
Journal Article | Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
Authors
Stark MR, Johnson AD
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