The pentapeptide motif of Hox proteins is required for cooperative DNA binding with Pbx1, physically contacts Pbx1, and enhances DNA binding by Pbx1

Paul S Knoepfler, M. P. Kamps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

140 Scopus citations

Abstract

The vertebrate Hox genes, which represent a subset of all homeobox genes, encode proteins that regulate anterior-posterior positional identity during embryogenesis and are cognates of the Drosophila homeodomain proteins encoded by genes composing the homeotic complex (HOM-C). Recently, we demonstrated that multiple Hox proteins bind DNA cooperatively with both Pbx1 and its oncogenic derivative, E2A-Pbx1. Here, we show that the highly conserved pentapeptide motif F/Y-P-W-M-R/K, which occurs in numerous Hox proteins and is positioned 8 to 50 amino acids N terminal to the homeodomain, is essential for cooperative DNA binding with Pbx1 and E2A-Pbx1. Point mutational analysis demonstrated that the tryptophan and methionine residues within the core of this motif were critical for cooperative DNA binding. A peptide containing the wild-type pentapeptide sequence, but not one in which phenylalanine was substituted for tryptophan, blocked the ability of Hox proteins to bind cooperatively with Pbx1 or E2A-Pbx1, suggesting that the pentapeptide itself provides at least one surface through which Hox proteins bind Pbx1. Furthermore, the same peptide, but not the mutant peptide, stimulated DNA binding by Pbx1, suggesting that interaction of Hox proteins with Pbx1 through the pentapeptide motif raises the DNA-binding ability of Pbx1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5811-5819
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Volume15
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology

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