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Mol Cell Biol. 1995 Nov;15(11):6013-24.

Role of chromatin and Xenopus laevis heat shock transcription factor in regulation of transcription from the X. laevis hsp70 promoter in vivo.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2710, USA.


Xenopus laevis oocytes activate transcription from the Xenopus hsp70 promoter within a chromatin template in response to heat shock. Expression of exogenous Xenopus heat shock transcription factor 1 (XHSF1) causes the activation of the wild-type hsp70 promoter within chromatin. XHSF1 activates transcription at normal growth temperatures (18 degrees C), but heat shock (34 degrees C) facilitates transcriptional activation. Titration of chromatin in vivo leads to constitutive transcription from the wild-type hsp70 promoter. The Y box elements within the hsp70 promoter facilitate transcription in the presence or absence of chromatin. The presence of the Y box elements prevents the assembly of canonical nucleosomal arrays over the promoter and facilitates transcription. In a mutant hsp70 promoter lacking Y boxes, exogenous XHSF1 activates transcription from a chromatin template much more efficiently under heat shock conditions. Activation of transcription from the mutant promoter by exogenous XHSF1 correlates with the disappearance of a canonical nucleosomal array over the promoter. Chromatin structure on a mutant hsp70 promoter lacking Y boxes can restrict XHSF1 access; however, on both mutant and wild-type promoters, chromatin assembly can also restrict the function of the basal transcriptional machinery. We suggest that chromatin assembly has a physiological role in establishing a transcriptionally repressed state on the Xenopus hsp70 promoter in vivo.

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