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Cell Rep. 2013 Oct 31;5(2):531-45. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.09.022. Epub 2013 Oct 17.

A DNA-centric protein interaction map of ultraconserved elements reveals contribution of transcription factor binding hubs to conservation.

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  • 1Department of Proteomics and Signal Transduction, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Am Klopferspitz 18, 82152 Martinsried, Germany.


Ultraconserved elements (UCEs) have been the subject of great interest because of their extreme sequence identity and their seemingly cryptic and largely uncharacterized functions. Although in vivo studies of UCE sequences have demonstrated regulatory activity, protein interactors at UCEs have not been systematically identified. Here, we combined high-throughput affinity purification, high-resolution mass spectrometry, and SILAC quantification to map intrinsic protein interactions for 193 UCE sequences. The interactome contains over 400 proteins, including transcription factors with known developmental roles. We demonstrate based on our data that UCEs consist of strongly conserved overlapping binding sites. We also generated a fine-resolution interactome of a UCE, confirming the hub-like nature of the element. The intrinsic interactions mapped here are reflected in open chromatin, as indicated by comparison with existing ChIP data. Our study argues for a strong contribution of protein-DNA interactions to UCE conservation and provides a basis for further functional characterization of UCEs.

Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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