A-form DNA structure is a determinant of transcript levels from the Xenopus gata2 promoter in embryos

Katrina Llewellyn, Peter Cary, James McClellan, Matt Guille, Garry Scarlett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have previously shown that a critical region of the gata2 promoter contains an inverted CCAAT box and adopts a partial A-form DNA structure in vitro. At gastrula stages of development transcription requires binding of CBTF (CCAAT box transcription factor), a multi-subunit transcription factor, to this region. Xilf3 is one component of CBTF and the double stranded RNA binding domains (dsRBDs) of Xilf3 must be active for both binding to. and transcription from, this promoter. Here we determine the contribution of DNA sequence and structure at the gata2 promoter to transcriptional activity. In all the constructs we tested a CCAAT box was a requirement for full activity. However, base substitutions that increase B-form structure propensity in the sequences flanking the CCAAT box are equally able to decrease activity even if a CCAAT box is present. In contrast, mutations that maintain A-form propensity in these regions also maintain, or increase, transcription factor binding and transcriptional activity. We propose a two-component model for the interaction of CBTF with the gata2 promoter, requiring both a CCAAT sequence and flanking A-form DNA structures. These results support a novel role for dsRBDs in transcriptional regulation and suggest a function for A-form DNA in vivo. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-680
Number of pages6
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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