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An improved auxin-inducible degron system preserves native protein levels and enables rapid and specific protein depletion

By Kizhakke Mattada Sathyan, Brian D McKenna, Warren D. Anderson, Fabiana M. Duarte, Leighton Core, Michael J. Guertin

Posted 22 Mar 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/585927 (published DOI: 10.1101/gad.328237.119)

Rapid perturbation of protein function permits the ability to define primary molecular responses while avoiding down-stream cumulative effects of protein dysregulation. The auxin-inducible degron (AID) system was developed as a tool to achieve rapid and inducible protein degradation in non-plant systems. However, tagging proteins at their endogenous loci results in chronic, auxin-independent degradation by the proteasome. To correct this deficiency, we expressed the Auxin Response Transcription Factor (ARF) in an improved inducible degron system. ARF is absent from previously engineered AID systems, but ARF is a critical component of native auxin signaling. In plants, ARF directly interacts with AID in the absence of auxin and we found that expression of the ARF Phox and Bem1 (PB1) domain suppresses constitutive degradation of AID-tagged proteins. Moreover, the rate of auxin-induced AID degradation is substantially faster in the ARF-AID system. To test the ARF-AID system in a quantitative and sensitive manner, we measured genome-wide changes in nascent transcription after rapidly depleting the ZNF143 transcription factor. Transciptional profiling indicates that ZNF143 activates transcription in cis and ZNF143 regulates promoter-proximal paused RNA Polymerase density. Rapidly inducible degradation systems that preserve the target protein’s native expression levels and patterns will revolutionize the study of biological systems by enabling specific and temporally defined protein dysregulation.

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