Article

Non-DNA-binding cofactors enhance DNA-binding specificity of a transcriptional regulatory complex

Division of Genetics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Molecular Systems Biology (Impact Factor: 14.1). 12/2011; 7:555. DOI: 10.1038/msb.2011.89
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recruitment of cofactors to specific DNA sites is integral for specificity in gene regulation. As a model system, we examined how targeting and transcriptional control of the sulfur metabolism genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is governed by recruitment of the transcriptional co-activator Met4. We developed genome-scale approaches to measure transcription factor (TF) DNA-binding affinities and cofactor recruitment to >1300 genomic binding site sequences. We report that genes responding to the TF Cbf1 and cofactor Met28 contain a novel 'recruitment motif' (RYAAT), adjacent to Cbf1 binding sites, which enhances the binding of a Met4-Met28-Cbf1 regulatory complex, and that abrogation of this motif significantly reduces gene induction under low-sulfur conditions. Furthermore, we show that correct recognition of this composite motif requires both non-DNA-binding cofactors Met4 and Met28. Finally, we demonstrate that the presence of an RYAAT motif next to a Cbf1 site, rather than Cbf1 binding affinity, specifies Cbf1-dependent sulfur metabolism genes. Our results highlight the need to examine TF/cofactor complexes, as novel specificity can result from cofactors that lack intrinsic DNA-binding specificity.

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