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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33404. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033404. Epub 2012 Mar 19.

Deformed epidermal autoregulatory factor-1 (DEAF1) interacts with the Ku70 subunit of the DNA-dependent protein kinase complex.

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Department of Physiology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Carbondale, Illinois, United States of America.


Deformed Epidermal Autoregulatory Factor 1 (DEAF1) is a transcription factor linked to suicide, cancer, autoimmune disorders and neural tube defects. To better understand the role of DEAF1 in protein interaction networks, a GST-DEAF1 fusion protein was used to isolate interacting proteins in mammalian cell lysates, and the XRCC6 (Ku70) and the XRCC5 (Ku80) subunits of DNA dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) complex were identified by mass spectrometry, and the DNA-PK catalytic subunit was identified by immunoblotting. Interaction of DEAF1 with Ku70 and Ku80 was confirmed to occur within cells by co-immunoprecipitation of epitope-tagged proteins, and was mediated through interaction with the Ku70 subunit. Using in vitro GST-pulldowns, interaction between DEAF1 and the Ku70 subunit was mapped to the DEAF1 DNA binding domain and the C-terminal Bax-binding region of Ku70. In transfected cells, DEAF1 and Ku70 colocalized to the nucleus, but Ku70 could not relocalize a mutant cytoplasmic form of DEAF1 to the nucleus. Using an in vitro kinase assay, DEAF1 was phosphorylated by DNA-PK in a DNA-independent manner. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that DEAF1 or Ku70/Ku80 did not interfere with the DNA binding of each other, but DNA containing DEAF1 binding sites inhibited the DEAF1-Ku70 interaction. The data demonstrates that DEAF1 can interact with the DNA-PK complex through interactions of its DNA binding domain with the carboxy-terminal region of Ku70 that contains the Bax binding domain, and that DEAF1 is a potential substrate for DNA-PK.

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