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Mol Cell Biol. Sep 1995; 15(9): 4939–4946.
PMCID: PMC230740

The essential DNA-binding protein sap1 of Schizosaccharomyces pombe contains two independent oligomerization interfaces that dictate the relative orientation of the DNA-binding domain.


The sap1 gene from Schizosaccharomyces pombe, which is essential for mating-type switching and for growth, encodes a sequence-specific DNA-binding protein with no homology to other known proteins. We have used a reiterative selection procedure to isolate binding sites for sap1, using a bacterially expressed protein and randomized double-strand oligonucleotides. The sap1 homodimer preferentially selects a pentameric motif, TA(A/G)CG, organized as a direct repeat and spaced by 5 nucleotides. Removal of a C-terminal dimerization domain abolishes recognition of the direct repeat and creates a new specificity for a DNA sequence containing the same pentameric motif but organized as an inverted repeat. We present evidence that the orientation of the DNA-binding domain is controlled by two independent oligomerization interfaces. The C-terminal dimerization domain allows a head-to-tail organization of the DNA-binding domains in solution, while an N-terminal domain is involved in a cooperative interaction on the DNA target between pairs of dimers.

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Selected References

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