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Biochemistry. 2005 Oct 11;44(40):13394-403.

Interaction of heterochromatin protein 2 with HP1 defines a novel HP1-binding domain.

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Department of Biology, Washington University, CB-1229, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, USA.


Heterochromatin Protein 2 (HP2) is a nonhistone chromosomal protein from Drosophila melanogaster localized principally in the pericentric heterochromatin, telomeres, and fourth chromosome, all regions associated with HP1. Mutations in HP2 can suppress position effect variegation, indicating a role in gene silencing and heterochromatin formation [Shaffer, C. D. et al. (2002) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.U.S.A. 99, 14332-14337]. In vitro coimmunoprecipitation experiments with various peptides from HP2 have identified a single HP1-binding domain. Conserved domains in HP2, including those within the HP1-binding region, have been identified by recovering and sequencing Su(var)2-HP2 from D. willistoni and D. virilis, as well as examining available sequence data from D. pseudoobscura. A PxVxL motif, shown to be an HP1-binding domain in many HP1-interacting proteins, is observed but is not well-conserved in location and sequence and does not mediate HP2 binding to HP1. The sole HP1-binding domain is composed of two conserved regions of 12 and 16 amino acids separated by 19 amino acids. Site-directed mutagenesis within the two conserved regions has shown that the 16 amino acid domain is critical for HP1 binding. This constitutes a novel domain for HP1 interaction, providing a critical link for heterochromatin formation in Drosophila.

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