GAGA facilities binding of Pleiohomeotic to a chromatinized Polycomb response element

Tokameh Mahmoudi, Lobke M P Zuijderduijn, Adone Tielenius Kruythoff-Mohd Sarip, C. Peter Verrijzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)


Polycomb response elements (PREs) are chromosomal elements, typically comprising thousands of base pairs of poorly defined sequences that confer the maintenance of gene expression patterns by Polycomb group (PcG) repressors and trithorax group (trxG) activators. Genetic studies have indicated a synergistic requirement for the trxG protein GAGA and the PcG protein Pleiohomeotic (PHO) in silencing at several PREs. However, the molecular basis of this cooperation remains unknown. Here, using DNasel footprinting analysis, we provide a high-resolution map of sites for the sequence-specific DNA-binding PcG protein PHO, trxG proteins GAGA and Zeste and the gap protein Hunchback (HB) on the 1.6 kb Ultrabithorax (Ubx) PRE. Although these binding elements are present throughout the PRE, they display clear patterns of clustering, suggestive of functional collaboration at the level of PRE binding. We found that while GAGA could efficiently bind to a chromatinized PRE, PHO alone was incapable of binding to chromatin. However, PHO binding to chromatin, but not naked DNA, was strongly facilitated by GAGA, indicating interdependence between GAGA and PHO already t the level of PRE binding. These results provide a biochemical explanation for the in vivo cooperation between GAGA and PHO and suggest that PRE function involves the integrated activities of genetically antagonistic trxG and PcG proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4147-4156
Number of pages10
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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