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Biophys J. 2008 Apr 1;94(7):2859-68. Epub 2007 Dec 7.

Conformation of the c-Fos/c-Jun complex in vivo: a combined FRET, FCCS, and MD-modeling study.

Author information

1
Cell Biology and Signaling Research Group of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Department of Biophysics and Cell Biology, Medical and Health Science Center, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary.

Abstract

The activator protein-1 transcription factor is a heterodimer containing one of each of the Fos and Jun subfamilies of basic-region leucine-zipper proteins. We have previously shown by fluorescence cross-correlation spectroscopy (FCCS) that the fluorescent fusion proteins Fos-EGFP and Jun-mRFP1, cotransfected in HeLa cells, formed stable complexes in situ. Here we studied the relative position of the C-terminal domains via fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) measured by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. To get a more detailed insight into the conformation of the C-terminal domains of the complex we constructed C-terminal labeled full-length and truncated forms of Fos. We developed a novel iterative evaluation method to determine accurate FRET efficiencies regardless of relative protein expression levels, using a spectral- or intensity-based approach. The full-length C-terminal-labeled Jun and Fos proteins displayed a FRET-measured average distance of 8 +/- 1 nm. Deletion of the last 164 amino acids at the C-terminus of Fos resulted in a distance of 6.1 +/- 1 nm between the labels. FCCS shows that Jun-mRFP1 and the truncated Fos-EGFP also interact stably in the nucleus, although they bind to nuclear components with lower affinity. Thus, the C-terminal end of Fos may play a role in the stabilization of the interaction between activator protein-1 and DNA. Molecular dynamics simulations predict a dye-to-dye distance of 6.7 +/- 0.1 nm for the dimer between Jun-mRFP1 and the truncated Fos-EGFP, in good agreement with our FRET data. A wide variety of models could be developed for the full-length dimer, with possible dye-to-dye distances varying largely between 6 and 20 nm. However, from our FRET results we can conclude that more than half of the occurring dye-to-dye distances are between 6 and 10 nm.

PMID:
18065450
PMCID:
PMC2267125
DOI:
10.1529/biophysj.107.120766
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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