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EMBO Rep. 2010 Aug;11(8):612-8. doi: 10.1038/embor.2010.98. Epub 2010 Jul 16.

The structural plasticity of SCA7 domains defines their differential nucleosome-binding properties.

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Department of Functional Genomics, Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC), CNRS UMR 7104, INSERM U 964, Université de Strasbourg, Illkirch, France.


SAGA (Spt-Ada-Gcn5 acetyltransferase), a coactivator complex involved in chromatin remodelling, harbours both histone acetylation and deubiquitination activities. ATXN7/Sgf73 and ATXN7L3, two subunits of the SAGA deubiquitination module, contain an SCA7 domain characterized by an atypical zinc-finger. We show that the yeast Sgf73-SCA7 domain is not required to recruit Sgf73 into SAGA. Instead, it binds to nucleosomes, a property that is conserved in the human ATXN7-SCA7 domain but is lost in the ATXN7L3 domain. The solution structures of the SCA7 domain of both ATXN7 and ATXN7L3 reveal a new, common zinc-finger motif at the heart of two distinct folds, providing a molecular basis for the observed functional differences.

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