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Mol Cell Biol. 1994 Jun;14(6):4057-66.

Mapping and mutagenesis of the amino-terminal transcriptional repression domain of the Drosophila Krüppel protein.

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  • 1Laboratory of Eukaryotic Transcription, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


We previously demonstrated that the Drosophila Krüppel protein is a transcriptional repressor with separable DNA-binding and transcriptional repression activities. In this study, the minimal amino (N)-terminal repression region of the Krüppel protein was defined by transferring regions of the Krüppel protein to a heterologous DNA-binding protein, the lacI protein. Fusion of a predicted alpha-helical region from amino acids 62 to 92 in the N terminus of the Krüppel protein was sufficient to transfer repression activity. This putative alpha-helix has several hydrophobic surfaces, as well as a glutamine-rich surface. Mutants containing multiple amino acid substitutions of the glutamine residues demonstrated that this putative alpha-helical region is essential for repression activity of a Krüppel protein containing the entire N-terminal and DNA-binding regions. Furthermore, one point mutant with only a single glutamine on this surface altered to lysine abolished the ability of the Krüppel protein to repress, indicating the importance of the amino acid at residue 86 for repression. The N terminus also contained an adjacent activation region localized between amino acids 86 and 117. Finally, in accordance with predictions from primary amino acid sequence similarity, a repression region from the Drosophila even-skipped protein, which was six times more potent than that of the Krüppel protein in the mammalian cells, was characterized. This segment included a hydrophobic stretch of 11 consecutive alanine residues and a proline-rich region.

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