The yeast transcriptional regulator Rap1p binds to the DNA consensus sequence ACACCCAYACAYYY. We have previously shown that DNA-binding sites in which all four Y (Y = T or C) positions were Ts (UASrpg sequences) synergized more efficiently to activate transcription than sequences in which all Ys were Cs (telomere sequences) [F.-Z. Idrissi, J. Fernández-Larrea and B. Piña (1998) J. Mol. Biol. 284, 925-935]. Here we provide evidence that the DNA consensus sequence for Rap1p behaves as a combination of two ACAYYY half-sites with different functionality, the presence of Ts in the second half-site being the determinant for the transcriptional behaviour of the UASrpg sequences. DNA structure in the different complexes with Rap1p varied from being relatively uniform to appear rather distorted, this also being dependent on the presence of Ts in the second half-site. These distortions did not cause sharp bends or kinks in the DNA molecule. Computer analysis suggests that high-affinity binding of Rap1p to UASrpg sequences requires a rearrangement of the C-terminal Myb domain of the protein. We propose that the structural alterations in Rap1p-DNA complexes, both in the DNA and in the protein, affect the transcription potential of the complex in an allosteric manner. We also propose that the dimeric nature of the Rap1 DNA-binding domain is a key structural feature that explains the disparate functions of its DNA-binding sites in vivo.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.