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Mol Microbiol. 2009 Nov;74(3):582-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2009.06884.x. Epub 2009 Sep 22.

Hybrid Ptr2-like activators of archaeal transcription.

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Division of Biological Sciences and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0634, USA.


Methanocaldococcus jannaschii Ptr2, a member of the Lrp/AsnC family of bacterial DNA-binding proteins, is an activator of its eukaryal-type core transcription apparatus. In Lrp-family proteins, an N-terminal helix-turn-helix DNA-binding and dimerizing domain is joined to a C-terminal effector and multimerizing domain. A cysteine-scanning surface mutagenesis shows that the C-terminal domain of Ptr2 is responsible for transcriptional activation; two types of DNA binding-positive but activation-defective mutants are found: those unable to recruit the TBP and TFB initiation factors to the promoter, and those failing at a post-recruitment step. Transcriptional activation through the C-terminal Ptr2 effector domain is exploited in a screen of other Lrp effector domains for activation capability by constructing hybrid proteins with the N-terminal DNA-binding domain of Ptr2. Two hybrid proteins are effective activators: Ptr-H10, fusing the effector domain of Pyrococcus furiosus LrpA, and Ptr-H16, fusing the P. furiosus ORF1231 effector domain. Both new activators exhibit distinguishing characteristics: unlike octameric Ptr2, Ptr-H10 is a dimer; unlike Ptr2, the octameric Ptr-H16 poorly recruits TBP to the promoter, but more effectively co-recruits TFB with TBP. In contrast, the effector domain of Ptr1, the M. jannaschii Ptr2 paralogue, yields only very weak activation.

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