Quantitative analyses of the equilibria among DNA complexes of a blue-light-regulated bZIP module, Photozipper.
ABSTRACT: Aureochrome1 is a blue-light-receptor protein identified in a stramenopile alga, Vaucheria frigida. Photozipper (PZ) is an N-terminally truncated, monomeric, V. frigida aureochrome1 fragment containing a basic leucine zipper (bZIP) domain and a light-oxygen-voltage (LOV)-sensing domain. PZ dimerizes upon photoexcitation and consequently increases its affinity for the target sequence. In the present study, to understand the equilibria among DNA complexes of PZ, DNA binding by PZ and mutational variants was quantitatively investigated by electrophoretic-mobility-shift assay and fluorescence-correlation spectroscopy in the dark and light states. DNA binding by PZ was sequence-specific and light-dependent. The half-maximal effective concentration of PZ for binding to the target DNA sequence was ~40 nM in the light, which was >10-fold less than the value in the dark. By contrast, the dimeric PZ-S2C variant (with intermolecular disulfide bonds) had higher affinity for the target sequence, with dissociation constants of ~4 nM, irrespective of the light conditions. Substitutions of Glu159 and Lys164 in the leucine zipper region decreased the affinity of PZ for the target sequence, especially in the light, suggesting that these residues form inter-helical salt bridges between leucine zipper regions, stabilizing the dimer-DNA complex. Our quantitative analyses of the equilibria in PZ-DNA-complex formation suggest that the blue-light-induced dimerization of LOV domains and coiled-coil formation by leucine zipper regions are the primary determinants of the affinity of PZ for the target sequence.
Project description:The design of synthetic optogenetic tools that allow precise spatiotemporal control of biological processes previously inaccessible to optogenetic control has developed rapidly over the last years. Rational design of such tools requires detailed knowledge of allosteric light signaling in natural photoreceptors. To understand allosteric communication between sensor and effector domains, characterization of all relevant signaling states is required. Here, we describe the mechanism of light-dependent DNA binding of the light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) transcription factor Aureochrome 1a from Phaeodactylum tricornutum (PtAu1a) and present crystal structures of a dark state LOV monomer and a fully light-adapted LOV dimer. In combination with hydrogen/deuterium-exchange, solution scattering data and DNA-binding experiments, our studies reveal a light-sensitive interaction between the LOV and basic region leucine zipper DNA-binding domain that together with LOV dimerization results in modulation of the DNA affinity of PtAu1a. We discuss the implications of these results for the design of synthetic LOV-based photosensors with application in optogenetics.
Project description:A blue light (BL) receptor was discovered in stramenopile algae Vaucheria frigida (Xanthophyceae) and Fucus distichus (Phaeophyceae). Two homologs were identified in Vaucheria; each has one basic region/leucine zipper (bZIP) domain and one light-oxygen-voltage (LOV)-sensing domain. We named these chromoproteins AUREOCHROMEs (AUREO1 and AUREO2). AUREO1 binds flavin mononucleotide via its LOV domain and forms a 390-nm-absorbing form, indicative of formation of a cysteinyl adduct to the C(4a) carbon of the flavin mononucleotide upon BL irradiation. The adduct decays to the ground state in approximately 5 min. Its bZIP domain binds the target sequence TGACGT. The AUREO1 target binding was strongly enhanced by BL treatment, implying that AUREO1 functions as a BL-regulated transcription factor. The function of AUREO1 as photoreceptor for BL-induced branching is elucidated through RNAi experiments. RNAi of AUREO2 unexpectedly induces sex organ primordia instead of branches, implicating AUREO2 as a subswitch to initiate development of a branch, but not a sex organ. AUREO sequences are also found in the genome of the marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana (Bacillariophyceae), but are not present in green plants. AUREOCHROME therefore represents a BL receptor in photosynthetic stramenopiles.
Project description:Aureochrome 1 from Vaucheria frigida is a recently identified blue-light receptor that acts as a transcription factor. The protein comprises a photosensitive light-, oxygen- and voltage-sensitive (LOV) domain and a basic zipper (bZIP) domain that binds DNA rendering aureochrome 1 a prospective optogenetic tool. Here, we studied the photoreaction of full-length aureochrome 1 by molecular spectroscopy. The kinetics of the decay of the red-shifted triplet state and the blue-shifted signaling state were determined by time-resolved UV/Vis spectroscopy. It is shown that the presence of the bZIP domain further prolongs the lifetime of the LOV390 signaling state in comparison to the isolated LOV domain whereas bound DNA does not influence the photocycle kinetics. The light-dark Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) difference spectrum shows the characteristic features of the flavin mononucleotide chromophore except that the S-H stretching vibration of cysteine 254, which is involved in the formation of the thio-adduct state, is significantly shifted to lower frequencies compared to other LOV domains. The presence of the target DNA influences the light-induced FTIR difference spectrum of aureochrome 1. Vibrational bands that can be assigned to arginine and lysine side chains as well to the phosphate backbone, indicate crucial changes in interactions between transcription factor and DNA.
Project description:Light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) domains serve as the photosensory modules for a wide range of plant and bacterial proteins, conferring blue light-dependent regulation to effector activities as diverse as enzymes and DNA binding. LOV domains can also be engineered into a variety of exogenous targets, allowing similar regulation for new protein-based reagents. Common to these proteins is the ability for LOV domains to reversibly form a photochemical adduct between an internal flavin chromophore and the surrounding protein, using this to trigger conformational changes that affect output activity. Using the Erythrobacter litoralis protein EL222 model system that links LOV regulation to a helix-turn-helix (HTH) DNA binding domain, we demonstrated that the LOV domain binds and inhibits the HTH domain in the dark, releasing these interactions upon illumination [Nash, A. I., et al. (2011) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 108, 9449-9454]. Here we combine genomic and in vitro selection approaches to identify optimal DNA binding sites for EL222. Within the bacterial host, we observe binding at several genomic sites using a 12 bp sequence consensus that is also found by in vitro selection methods. Sequence-specific alterations in the DNA consensus reduce EL222 binding affinity in a manner consistent with the expected binding mode, a protein dimer binding to two repeats. Finally, we demonstrate the light-dependent activation of transcription of two genes adjacent to an EL222 binding site. Taken together, these results shed light on the native function of EL222 and provide useful reagents for further basic and applications research of this versatile protein.
Project description:The cryptic high copy number plasmid pRN1 from the thermophilic and acidophilic crenarchaeote Sulfolobus islandicus shares three conserved open reading frames with other S.islandicus plasmids. One of the open reading frames, namely orf80, encodes a 9.5 kDa protein that has no homology to any characterised protein. Recombinant ORF80 purified from Escherichia coli binds to double-stranded DNA in a sequence-specific manner as suggested by EMSA experiments and DNase I footprints. Two highly symmetrical binding sites separated by approximately 60 bp were found upstream of the orf80 gene. Both binding sites contain two TTAA motifs as well as other conserved bases. Fluorescence measurements show that short duplex DNAs derived from a single binding site sequence are bound with submicromolar affinity and moderate cooperativity by ORF80. On DNA fragments carrying both binding sites, a rather large protein-DNA complex is formed in a highly cooperative manner. ORF80 contains an N-terminal leucine zipper motif and a highly basic domain at its C-terminus. Compared to all known basic leucine zipper proteins the order of the domains is reversed in ORF80. ORF80 may therefore constitute a new subclass of basic leucine zipper DNA-binding proteins.
Project description:The modular architecture of aureochrome blue light receptors, found in several algal groups including diatoms, is unique by having the LOV-type photoreceptor domain fused to the C-terminus of its putative effector, an N-terminal DNA-binding bZIP module. The structural and functional understanding of aureochromes' light-dependent signaling mechanism is limited, despite their promise as an optogenetic tool. We show that class I aureochromes 1a and 1c from the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum are regulated in a light-independent circadian rhythm. These aureochromes are capable to form functional homo- and heterodimers, which recognize the ACGT core sequence within the canonical 'aureo box', TGACGT, in a light-independent manner. The bZIP domain holds a more folded and less flexible but extended conformation in the duplex DNA-bound state. FT-IR spectroscopy in the absence and the presence of DNA shows light-dependent helix unfolding in the LOV domain, which leads to conformational changes in the bZIP region. The solution structure of DNA bound to aureochrome points to a tilted orientation that was further validated by molecular dynamics simulations. We propose that aureochrome signaling relies on an allosteric pathway from LOV to bZIP that results in conformational changes near the bZIP-DNA interface without major effects on the binding affinity.
Project description:Sensory photoreceptor proteins underpin light-dependent adaptations in nature and enable the optogenetic control of organismal behavior and physiology. We identified the bacterial light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) photoreceptor PAL that sequence-specifically binds short RNA stem loops with around 20?nM affinity in blue light and weaker than 1?µM in darkness. A crystal structure rationalizes the unusual receptor architecture of PAL with C-terminal LOV photosensor and N-terminal effector units. The light-activated PAL-RNA interaction can be harnessed to regulate gene expression at the RNA level as a function of light in both bacteria and mammalian cells. The present results elucidate a new signal-transduction paradigm in LOV receptors and conjoin RNA biology with optogenetic regulation, thereby paving the way toward hitherto inaccessible optoribogenetic modalities.
Project description:Photocontrol of functional peptides is a powerful tool for spatial and temporal control of cell signaling events. We show that the genetically encoded light-sensitive LOV2 domain of Avena Sativa phototropin 1 (AsLOV2) can be used to reversibly photomodulate the affinity of peptides for their binding partners. Sequence analysis and molecular modeling were used to embed two peptides into the J? helix of the AsLOV2 domain while maintaining AsLOV2 structure in the dark but allowing for binding to effector proteins when the J? helix unfolds in the light. Caged versions of the ipaA and SsrA peptides, LOV-ipaA and LOV-SsrA, bind their targets with 49- and 8-fold enhanced affinity in the light, respectively. These switches can be used as general tools for light-dependent colocalization, which we demonstrate with photo-activable gene transcription in yeast.
Project description:Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is a master regulator of melanocyte development and an important oncogene in melanoma. MITF heterodimeric assembly with related basic helix-loop-helix leucine zipper transcription factors is highly restricted, and its binding profile to cognate DNA sequences is distinct. Here, we determined the crystal structure of MITF in its apo conformation and in the presence of two related DNA response elements, the E-box and M-box. In addition, we investigated mouse and human Mitf mutations to dissect the functional significance of structural features. Owing to an unusual three-residue shift in the leucine zipper register, the MITF homodimer shows a marked kink in one of the two zipper helices to allow an out-of-register assembly. Removal of this insertion relieves restricted heterodimerization by MITF and permits assembly with the transcription factor MAX. Binding of MITF to the M-box motif is mediated by an unusual nonpolar interaction by Ile212, a residue that is mutated in mice and humans with Waardenburg syndrome. As several related transcription factors have low affinity for the M-box sequence, our analysis unravels how these proteins discriminate between similar target sequences. Our data provide a rational basis for targeting MITF in the treatment of important hereditary diseases and cancer.
Project description:Proto-oncogene products c-Fos and c-Jun form a complex which binds with high affinity to the 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) response DNA element and which stimulates transcription of phorbol ester- inducible genes. We have previously identified, by screening a lambda gt11 expression library, murine protein mXBP, which binds to a sequence which overlaps the 3' end of the murine class II major histocompatibility complex A alpha gene X box, a conserved transcription element found upstream of all class II genes. Here, we demonstrate that the target sequence for mXBP is a consensus cyclic AMP response element (CRE). mXBP is a member of the leucine zipper family of DNA-binding proteins and has significant homology to oncoproteins c-Fos and c-Jun. The inferred amino acid sequence of mXBP shows near identity to human CRE-BP1, except it does not contain an internal proline-rich domain. Immunoprecipitation and glutaraldehyde cross-linking studies show that mXBP/CRE-BP2 can form a complex with c-Jun. Complex formation is dependent on intact leucine zipper domains in both proteins. mXBP-c-Jun complexes can coexist with c-Fos-c-Jun complexes and can bind with high affinity to CRE, but not to TPA response DNA element, sequences. These results suggest that changes in the expression of mXBP/CRE-BP2, c-Fos, and c-Jun, which alter the ratio of mXBP-c-Jun to c-Fos-c-Jun complexes, would affect the relative expression of cyclic AMP and phorbol ester-responsive genes. This provides support for a combinatorial model of gene regulation, whereby protein-protein interactions which alter the DNA binding specificity of protein complexes can expand the flexibility of cellular transcriptional responses.