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Links from Conserved Domains

J Biol Chem. 2005 Feb 18;280(7):5169-77. Epub 2004 Nov 24.

Functional domains of the yeast chromatin protein Sin1p/Spt2p can bind four-way junction and crossing DNA structures.

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Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan 52900, Israel.


Sin1p/Spt2p is a yeast chromatin protein that, when mutated or deleted, alters the transcription of a family of genes presumably by modulating local chromatin structure. In this study, we investigated the ability of different domains of this protein to bind four-way junction DNA (4WJDNA) since 4WJDNA can serve as a model for bent double helical DNA and for the crossed structure formed at the exit and entry of DNA to the nucleosomes. Sequence alignment of Sin1p/Spt2p homologues from 11 different yeast species showed conservation of several domains. We found that three domains of Sin1p/Spt2p fused to glutathione S-transferase can each bind independently in a structure-specific manner to 4WJDNA as measured in a gel mobility shift assay. A feature common to these domains is a cluster of positively charged amino acids. Modification of this cluster resulted in either abolishment of binding or a change in the binding properties. One of the domains tested clearly bound superhelical DNA, although it failed to induce bending in a circularization assay. Poly-l-lysine, which may be viewed as a cluster of positively charged amino acids, bound 4WJDNA as well. Phenotypic analysis showed that disruption of any of these domains resulted in suppression of a his4-912delta allele, indicating that each domain has functional significance. We propose that Sin1p/Spt2p is likely to modulate local chromatin structure by binding two strands of double-stranded DNA at their crossover point.

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