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Articles by H. K Chow
Total Records ( 1 ) for H. K Chow
  J Xu , A. T De Jong , G Chen , H. K Chow , C. O Damaso , A Schwartz Mittelman and J. A. Shin
 

To explore the role of the HLH subdomain in bHLHZ proteins, we designed sets of minimalist proteins based on bHLHZ protein Max, bHLH/PAS protein Arnt and bZIP protein C/EBP. In the first, the Max bHLH and C/EBP leucine zipper were fused such that the leucine heptad repeats were not in register; therefore, the protein dimerization interface was disrupted. Max1bHLH-C/EBP showed little ability to activate transcription from the E-box (5'-CACGTG) in the yeast one-hybrid assay, and no E-box binding by quantitative fluorescence anisotropy. Max1bHLH-C/EBP's activity was significantly improved after library selection (three amino acids randomized between HLH and leucine zipper), despite the Max bHLH and C/EBP zipper still being out of register: a representative mutant gave a high nanomolar Kd value for E-box binding. Thus, selection proved to be a powerful tool for salvaging the flawed Max1bHLH-C/EBP, although the out-of-register mutants still did not achieve the strong DNA-binding affinities displayed by their in-register counterparts. ArntbHLH-C/EBP hybrids further demonstrated the importance of maintaining register, as out-of-register mutants showed no E-box-responsive activity, whereas the in-register hybrid showed moderate activity. In another design, we eliminated the HLH altogether and fused the Max basic region to the C/EBP zipper to generate bZIP-like hybrids. Despite numerous designs and selections, these hybrids possessed no E-box-responsive activity. Finally, we tested the importance of the loop sequence in MaxbHLHZ by fluorescence and circular dichroism. In one mutant, the loop was shortened by two residues; in the other, the Lys57:DNA-backbone interaction was abolished by mutation to Gly57. Both showed markedly decreased E-box-binding relative to MaxbHLHZ. Our results suggest that, in contrast to the more rigid bZIP, the HLH is capable of significant conformational adaptation to enable gene-regulatory function and is required for protein dimerization and positioning the basic region for DNA recognition.

 
 
 
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