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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A single amino acid change in CUP2 alters its mode of DNA binding.

CUP2 is a copper-dependent transcriptional activator of the yeast CUP1 metallothionein gene. In the presence of Cu+ and Ag+) ions its DNA-binding domain is thought to fold as a cysteine-coordinated Cu cluster which recognizes the palindromic CUP1 upstream activation sequence (UASc). Using mobility shift, methylation interference, and DNase I and hydroxyl radical footprinting assays, we examined the interaction of wild-type and variant CUP2 proteins produced in Escherichia coli with the UASc. Our results suggest that CUP2 has a complex Cu-coordinated DNA-binding domain containing different parts that function as DNA-binding elements recognizing distinct sequence motifs embedded within the UASc. A single-amino-acid substitution of cysteine 11 with a tyrosine results in decreased Cu binding, apparent inactivation of one of the DNA-binding elements and a dramatic change in the recognition properties of CUP2. This variant protein interacts with only one part of the wild-type site and prefers to bind to a different half-site from the wild-type protein. Although the variant has about 10% of wild-type DNA-binding activity, it appears to be completely incapable of activating transcription.[1]


  1. A single amino acid change in CUP2 alters its mode of DNA binding. Buchman, C., Skroch, P., Dixon, W., Tullius, T.D., Karin, M. Mol. Cell. Biol. (1990) [Pubmed]
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