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Published March 28, 1995 | Published
Journal Article Open

A multimerizing transcription factor of sea urchin embryos capable of looping DNA


SpGCF1 is a recently cloned sea urchin transcription factor that recognizes target sites in several different sea urchin genes. We find that in gel-shift experiments this factor is able to multimerize. A quantitative simulation of the gel-shift results suggests that SpGCF1 molecules that are bound to DNA target sites may also bind to one another, thus associating several DNA probe molecules. SpGCF1 might therefore be able to loop DNA molecules bearing its target sites at distant locations. We demonstrate this prediction by electron microscopy, and using the well-characterized cis-regulatory domain of the CyIIIa cytoskeletal actin gene, we show that the loop conformations predicted from the known SpGCF1 target site locations are actually formed in vitro. We speculate that the multimerization of this factor in vivo may function to bring distant regions of extended regulatory domains into immediate proximity so that they can interact with one another.

Additional Information

© 1995 National Academy of Sciences. Contributed by Eric H. Davidson, December 20, 1994. We are pleased to acknowledge the useful insight of Prof. Robert Tjian, who in a telephone conversation early in this project alerted us to relevant studies on Spl carried out in his laboratory (21, 25). We are grateful to Profs. Carl Parker and Scott Fraser for their critical reviews of this manuscript and to Ms. Lora Cavallo for help with the EM preparations. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants HD-05753 to E.H.D. and GM-31839 and GM-42342 to J.D.G. R.W.Z. was supported by an Office of Naval Research Augmentation Awards for Science and Engineering Research Training program (N00014-93-1-1400) and C.V.K. was supported by a training grant from the Austrian government.

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Published - PNAS-1995-Zeller-2989-93.pdf


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