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Dynamic and Selective Low-Complexity Domain Interactions Revealed by Live-Cell Single-Molecule Imaging

By Shasha Chong, Claire Dugast-Darzacq, Zhe Liu, Peng Dong, Gina M Dailey, Claudia Cattoglio, Sambashiva Banala, Luke Lavis, Xavier Darzacq, Robert Tjian

Posted 25 Oct 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/208710

Many eukaryotic transcription factors (TFs) contain intrinsically disordered low-complexity domains (LCDs) but how they perform transactivation functions remains unclear. Recent studies report that TF-LCDs can undergo hydrogel formation or liquid-liquid phase separation in vitro. Here, live-cell single-molecule imaging reveals that TF-LCDs form local high concentration interaction hubs at synthetic and endogenous genomic loci. TF-LCD hubs stabilize DNA binding, recruit RNA polymerase II (Pol II) and activate transcription. LCD-LCD interactions within hubs are highly dynamic, display selectivity with binding partners, and are differentially sensitive to disruption by hexanediols. These findings suggest that under physiological conditions, rapid reversible and multivalent LCD-LCD interactions occur between TFs and the Pol II machinery, which underpins a central mechanism for transactivation and plays a key role in gene expression and disease.

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