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A SAM oligomerization domain shapes the genomic binding landscape of the LEAFY transcription factor.

Abstract : Deciphering the mechanisms directing transcription factors (TFs) to specific genome regions is essential to understand and predict transcriptional regulation. TFs recognize short DNA motifs primarily through their DNA-binding domain. Some TFs also possess an oligomerization domain suspected to potentiate DNA binding but for which the genome-wide influence remains poorly understood. Here we focus on the LEAFY transcription factor, a master regulator of flower development in angiosperms. We have determined the crystal structure of its conserved amino-terminal domain, revealing an unanticipated Sterile Alpha Motif oligomerization domain. We show that this domain is essential to LEAFY floral function. Moreover, combined biochemical and genome-wide assays suggest that oligomerization is required for LEAFY to access regions with low-affinity binding sites or closed chromatin. This finding shows that domains that do not directly contact DNA can nevertheless have a profound impact on the DNA binding landscape of a TF.
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Camille Sayou, Max H Nanao, Marc Jamin, David Posé, Emmanuel Thévenon, et al.. A SAM oligomerization domain shapes the genomic binding landscape of the LEAFY transcription factor.. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 7, pp.11222. ⟨10.1038/ncomms11222⟩. ⟨hal-01310696⟩

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