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© Research
Publication : Nature structural & molecular biology

An ancient protein-DNA interaction underlying metazoan sex determination

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Nature structural & molecular biology - 25 May 2015

Murphy MW, Lee JK, Rojo S, Gearhart MD, Kurahashi K, Banerjee S, Loeuille GA, Bashamboo A, McElreavey K, Zarkower D, Aihara H, Bardwell VJ

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 26005864

Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 2015 Jun;22(6):442-51

DMRT transcription factors are deeply conserved regulators of metazoan sexual development. They share the DM DNA-binding domain, a unique intertwined double zinc-binding module followed by a C-terminal recognition helix, which binds a pseudopalindromic target DNA. Here we show that DMRT proteins use a unique binding interaction, inserting two adjacent antiparallel recognition helices into a widened DNA major groove to make base-specific contacts. Versatility in how specific base contacts are made allows human DMRT1 to use multiple DNA binding modes (tetramer, trimer and dimer). Chromatin immunoprecipitation with exonuclease treatment (ChIP-exo) indicates that multiple DNA binding modes also are used in vivo. We show that mutations affecting residues crucial for DNA recognition are associated with an intersex phenotype in flies and with male-to-female sex reversal in humans. Our results illuminate an ancient molecular interaction underlying much of metazoan sexual development.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26005864