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The Leucine Zipper May Induce Electrophoretic Mobility Anomalies without DNA Bending

Richard J. McCormick, Tina Badalian and David E. Fisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 93, No. 25 (Dec. 10, 1996), pp. 14434-14439
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41101
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Leucine Zipper May Induce Electrophoretic Mobility Anomalies without DNA Bending
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Abstract

Numerous proteins bend DNA upon binding, a phenomenon of potential significance for regulation of gene expression and chromatin. DNA bending is commonly predicted from the presence of electrophoretic mobility anomalies in protein-DNA complexes. However, as compared with electrophoretic methods, several DNA binding oncoprotein families do not display comparable evidence of DNA bends in x-ray structural studies. Herein, circularization kinetics and affinity measurements with prebent DNA templates were employed to assess bending and DNA structural preferences for Max and other basic helix-loop-helix/leucine zipper proteins. In this way, proteins in the Myc/Max basic helix-loop-helix/leucine zipper family were found not to bend DNA in solution but to actually stabilize DNA in an unbent configuration that resists circularization. The mobility anomaly was found to be induced by the leucine zipper protein motif, rather than structural distortions of DNA. Thus rigid protein domain structures may induce anomalous electrophoretic mobility. Moreover, the energetic preference of non-DNA bending proteins for unbent templates suggests mechanisms whereby chromatin structure may regulate transcription.

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