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Identification of a novel plant MAR DNA binding protein localized on chromosomal surfaces.

Fujimoto S., Matsunaga S., Yonemura M., Uchiyama S., Azuma T., Fukui K.

We identified a novel nucleoplasm localized protein in Arabidopsis called AT-hook motif nuclear localized protein 1 (AHL1), which was isolated by visual screening of transformants using random GFP::cDNA fusions. AHL1 contains an AT-hook motif and unknown conserved PPC (plants and prokaryotes conserved) domain that includes a hydrophobic region. Approximately 30 paralogues were identified in the Arabidopsis genome. Proteins with PPC-like domains are found in Bacteria, Archaea and the plant kingdom, but in Bacteria and Archaea the PPC containing proteins of do not have an AT-hook motif. Thus, the PPC domain is evolutionary conserved and has a new function such as AT-rich DNA binding. AHL1 was mainly localized in the nucleoplasm, but little in the nucleolus and heterochromatic region, and was concentrated in the boundary region between euchromatin and heterochromatin. Biochemically, AHL1 was also found in the nuclear matrix fraction. In the M phase, AHL1 was localized on the chromosomal surface. The AT-hook motif was essential for matrix attachment region (MAR) binding, and the hydrophobic region of the PPC was indispensable for nuclear localization. Our results suggest that AHL1 is a novel plant MAR binding protein, which is related to the positioning of chromatin fibers in the nucleus by the presence of an AT-hook motif and PPC domain. In addition, AHL1 is located on the surface of chromosomes during mitosis.

Plant Mol. Biol. 56:225-239(2004) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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