A tryptophan-rich peptide acts as a transcription activation domain

Chen Huan Lin, Grace Lin, Chia Pei Chang, Chien Chia Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Eukaryotic transcription activators normally consist of a sequence-specific DNA-binding domain (DBD) and a transcription activation domain (AD). While many sequence patterns and motifs have been defined for DBDs, ADs do not share easily recognizable motifs or structures.Results: We report herein that the N-terminal domain of yeast valyl-tRNA synthetase can function as an AD when fused to a DNA-binding protein, LexA, and turn on reporter genes with distinct LexA-responsive promoters. The transcriptional activity was mainly attributed to a five-residue peptide, WYDWW, near the C-terminus of the N domain. Remarkably, the pentapeptide per se retained much of the transcriptional activity. Mutations which substituted tryptophan residues for both of the non-tryptophan residues in the pentapeptide (resulting in W5) significantly enhanced its activity (~1.8-fold), while mutations which substituted aromatic residues with alanine residues severely impaired its activity. Accordingly, a much more active peptide, pentatryptophan (W7), was produced, which elicited ~3-fold higher activity than that of the native pentapeptide and the N domain. Further study indicated that W7 mediates transcription activation through interacting with the general transcription factor, TFIIB.Conclusions: Since W7 shares no sequence homology or features with any known transcription activators, it may represent a novel class of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number85
JournalBMC Molecular Biology
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Nov 2010

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