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J Mol Biol. 1997 Jan 10;265(1):20-9.

The bifunctional protein DCoH modulates interactions of the homeodomain transcription factor HNF1 with nucleic acids.

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Structural Biology Programme, EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany.


The hepatocyte nuclear factor-1 (HNF1) is a homeodomain transcription factor that binds DNA as a dimer. HNF1 dimers associate with two molecules of DCoH, a bifunctional protein that also has an enzymatic function in the tetrahydrobiopterin regeneration, to form stable heterotetramers also capable of DNA binding. Employing purified, recombinant HNF1, HNF1/DCoH heterotetramers and DCoH homotetramers we investigated whether DCoH affects interactions of HNF1 with nucleic acids. Although we detected no direct binding of DCoH to DNA or RNA, DCoH stabilized HNF1/DNA complexes and promoted interactions with sub-optimal DNA target sequences such as the human alpha1-antitrypsin TATA box region. Importantly, we also observed interactions of HNF1 with RNA, but these interactions were completely abolished when HNF1 was complexed with DCoH. Interestingly, DCoH retains its enzymatic activity while complexed with HNF1. Our results document intermolecular regulation of HNF1 binding to nucleic acids by DCoH.

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