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J Biol Chem. 1997 Mar 28;272(13):8198-206.

The Abd-B-like Hox homeodomain proteins can be subdivided by the ability to form complexes with Pbx1a on a novel DNA target.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of California, San Francisco, California 94121, USA.


Previous studies showed that the Hox homeodomain proteins from paralog groups 1-8 display cooperative DNA binding with the non-Hox homeodomain protein Pbx, mediated by a canonical YPWM. Although the Abd-B-like Hox proteins in paralogs 9-13 lack this sequence, Hoxb-9 and Hoxa-10 were reported to bind with Pbx1a to DNA. We show that these interactions require a tryptophan 6 amino acids N-terminal to the homeodomain. Binding site selection for Hoxb-9 with Pbx1a yielded ATGATTTACGAC, containing a novel TTAC Hox-binding site adjacent to a Pbx site. In the presence of Pbx1a, Hoxb-9 and Hoxa-10 bound to targets containing either TTAC or TTAT. These data extend previous findings that interactions with Pbx define a Hox protein binding code for different DNA sequences across paralog groups 1 through 10. Members of the 11, 12, and 13 paralogs do not cooperatively bind DNA with Pbx1a, despite the presence of tryptophan residues N-terminal to the homeodomain in Hoxd-12 and Hoxd-13. Hoxa-11, Hoxd-12, or Hoxd-13, in the presence of Pbx1a, selected a TTAC Hox site but lacking a Pbx1a site. These data suggest that Abd-B-like Hox proteins bind to a novel TTAC site and can be divided by their cooperative binding to DNA with Pbx1a.

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