Tuned polymerization of the transcription factor yan limits off-DNA sequestration to confer context-specific repression

C. Matthew Hope, Jemma L. Webber, Sherzod A. Tokamov, Ilaria Rebay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

During development, transcriptional complexes at enhancers regulate gene expression in complex spatiotemporal patterns. To achieve robust expression without spurious activation, the affinity and specificity of transcription factor–DNA interactions must be precisely balanced. Protein–protein interactions among transcription factors are also critical, yet how their affinities impact enhancer output is not understood. The Drosophila transcription factor Yan provides a well-suited model to address this, as its function depends on the coordinated activities of two independent and essential domains: the DNA-binding ETS domain and the self-associating SAM domain. To explore how protein–protein affinity influences Yan function, we engineered mutants that increase SAM affinity over four orders of magnitude. This produced a dramatic subcellular redistribution of Yan into punctate structures, reduced repressive output and compromised survival. Cell-type specification and genetic interaction defects suggest distinct requirements for polymerization in different regulatory decisions. We conclude that tuned protein–protein interactions enable the dynamic spectrum of complexes that are required for proper regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere37545
JournaleLife
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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