The structurally disordered KRAB repression domain is incorporated into a protease resistant core upon binding to KAP-1-RBCC domain.
The Wistar Institute, 3601 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
The KRAB domain is a 75 amino acid transcriptional repression module that is encoded by more than 400 zinc finger protein genes, making it the most abundant repression domain in the human proteome. KRAB-mediated gene silencing requires a direct high affinity interaction with the RBCC domain of KAP-1 co-repressor. The structures of the free KRAB domain or the KRAB-RBCC complex are unknown. To address this, we have performed a systematic biophysical analysis of all KRAB isoforms using purified recombinant proteins. All KRAB domains are predominantly monomeric either alone or in a complex with KAP-1-RBCC protein, while a KRAB-SCAN isoform exists as a stable dimer. The KRAB:KAP-1-RBCC interaction requires only the A box in the context of the KRAB(Ab) or KRAB(AC) but both A and B boxes in the context of KRAB(AB). All isoforms bind the KAP-1-RBCC in a stable, zinc dependent fashion with a stoichiometry of KRAB1:3 RBCC with a zinc content of four atoms per RBCC monomer. Limited proteolysis, mass spectrometry and N-terminal sequence analyses suggest that a core complex comprises the entire RBCC domain of KAP-1 and the AB box of the KRAB domain rendering it resistant to proteolysis. NMR spectroscopy showed that unbound KRAB domain does not exist as a well-folded globular protein in solution but may fold into an ordered structure upon binding to the KAP-1-RBCC protein. This is the first example of a structurally disordered repressor domain that is the most widely conserved silencing domain in tetrapods.
J. Mol. Biol. 2007;370(2):269-89.
Pubmed ID: 17512541