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Biochemistry. 2001 Jul 24;40(29):8479-86.

Phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II CTD fragments results in tight binding to the WW domain from the yeast prolyl isomerase Ess1.

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Department of Biochemistry, Box 3711, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


The yeast prolyl isomerase, Ess1, has recently been shown to interact via its WW domain with the hyperphosphorylated form of the RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain (CTD). We have investigated folding of the Ess1 WW domain and its binding to peptides representing the CTD by circular dichroism and fluorescence. Ess1 WW folds and unfolds reversibly, but in the absence of ligand is only marginally stable with a melting temperature of 19 degrees C. The WW domain is stabilized by the addition of anionic ligands, namely, chloride, inorganic phosphate, phosphoserine, and phosphorylated CTD peptides. Dissociation constants were measured to be 70--100 microM for CTD peptides phosphorylated at one serine, and 16--21 microM for peptides with two or more phosphorylated serines. Weaker or no affinity was observed for nonphosphorylated CTD peptides. There is surprisingly little difference in the affinity for peptides phosphorylated at Ser 2 or Ser 5 of the consensus repeat, or for peptides with different patterns of multiple phosphorylation. The binding of Ess1 to phosphorylated CTD peptides is consistent with a model wherein the WW domain positions Ess1 to catalyze isomerization of the many pSer--Pro peptide bonds in the phosphorylated CTD. We suggest that cis/trans isomerization of prolyl peptide bonds plays a crucial role in CTD function during eukaryotic transcription.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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