Cooperative interaction between the DNA-binding domains of PU.1 and IRF4

Adelinda A. Yee, Peter Yin, David P. Siderovski, Tak W. Mak, David W. Litchfield, Cheryl H. Arrowsmith

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33 Scopus citations


The two lymphoid-specific transcription factors PU.1 and IRF4 form a cooperative ternary complex at immunoglobulin enhancer elements such as the λB and κ-E3' sites. We report here that the synergy of this interaction can be reconstituted in part with the DNA-binding domains of the two proteins. The minimal DNA binding-domain of IRF4 was mapped to residues 20 to 137, corresponding to the conserved DNA-binding region of other interferon regulatory factors (IRFs). This domain can bind weakly to a synthetic murine λB element, while IRF4 constructs that contain residues 1 to 19 require the presence of PU.1 for DNA-binding at similar concentrations. Fluorescence polarization of fluorescein-labelled DNA was used to show that the presence of residues 1 to 19 decreases the binding affinity of IRF4 N-terminal constructs from two- to fivefold. However, all constructs bound better to the λB element in the presence of the DNA-binding domain of PU.1. This cooperative interaction was not dependent on phosphorylation of the PEST domain of PU.1, but was dependent on the proper spacing of the binding sites for PU.1 and IRF4. These data suggest that at least part of the cooperative interaction between full-length PU.1 and IRF4 involves the DNA-binding domains of the two proteins. NMR spectroscopy of 15N-labelled PU.1 and IRF4 constructs indicates that the PEST domain of PU.1 and residues 1 to 19 of IRF4 may be unstructured in the isolated proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1083
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 26 Jun 1998


  • DNA binding
  • IRF4
  • Igλb enhancer
  • PEST domain
  • PU.1


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