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PLoS One. 2014 Sep 24;9(9):e108267. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108267. eCollection 2014.

tBRD-1 selectively controls gene activity in the Drosophila testis and interacts with two new members of the bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) family.

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Philipps-University Marburg, Department of Biology, Marburg, Germany.
Institute for Genetics, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany.
Department of Cardiac Development and Remodeling, Max-Planck-Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany.


Multicellular organisms have evolved specialized mechanisms to control transcription in a spatial and temporal manner. Gene activation is tightly linked to histone acetylation on lysine residues that can be recognized by bromodomains. Previously, the testis-specifically expressed bromodomain protein tBRD-1 was identified in Drosophila. Expression of tBRD-1 is restricted to highly transcriptionally active primary spermatocytes. tBRD-1 is essential for male fertility and proposed to act as a co-factor of testis-specific TATA box binding protein-associated factors (tTAFs) for testis-specific transcription. Here, we performed microarray analyses to compare the transcriptomes of tbrd-1 mutant testes and wild-type testes. Our data confirmed that tBRD-1 controls gene activity in male germ cells. Additionally, comparing the transcriptomes of tbrd-1 and tTAF mutant testes revealed a subset of common target genes. We also characterized two new members of the bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) family, tBRD-2 and tBRD-3. In contrast to other members of the BET family in animals, both possess only a single bromodomain, a characteristic feature of plant BET family members. Immunohistology techniques not only revealed that tBRD-2 and tBRD-3 partially co-localize with tBRD-1 and tTAFs in primary spermatocytes, but also that their proper subcellular distribution was impaired in tbrd-1 and tTAF mutant testes. Treating cultured male germ cells with inhibitors showed that localization of tBRD-2 and tBRD-3 depends on the acetylation status within primary spermatocytes. Yeast two-hybrid assays and co-immunoprecipitations using fly testes protein extracts demonstrated that tBRD-1 is able to form homodimers as well as heterodimers with tBRD-2, tBRD-3, and tTAFs. These data reveal for the first time the existence of single bromodomain BET proteins in animals, as well as evidence for a complex containing tBRDs and tTAFs that regulates transcription of a subset of genes with relevance for spermiogenesis.

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