Research Summary: The Reconstruction of Condition-Specific Transcriptional Modules Provides New Insights in the Evolution of Yeast AP-1 Proteins
AP-1 proteins are transcription factors (TFs) that belong to the basic leucine zipper family, one of the largest families of TFs in eukaryotic cells. Despite high homology between their DNA binding domains, these proteins are able to recognize diverse DNA motifs. In yeasts, these motifs are referred as YRE (Yap Response Element) and are either seven (YRE-Overlap) or eight (YRE-Adjacent) base pair long. It has been proposed that the AP-1 DNA binding motif preference relies on a single change in the amino acid sequence of the yeast AP-1 TFs (an arginine in the YRE-O binding factors being replaced by a lysine in the YRE-A binding Yaps). We developed a computational approach to infer condition-specific transcriptional modules associated to the orthologous AP-1 protein Yap1p, Cgap1p and Cap1p, in three yeast species: the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and two pathogenic species Candida glabrata and Candida albicans. Exploitation of these modules in terms of predictions of the protein/DNA regulatory interactions changed our vision of AP-1 protein evolution. Cis-regulatory motif analyses revealed the presence of a conserved adenine in 5′ position of the canonical YRE sites. While Yap1p, Cgap1p and Cap1p shared a remarkably low number of target genes, an impressive conservation was observed in the YRE sequences identified by Yap1p and Cap1p. In Candida glabrata, we found that Cgap1p, unlike Yap1p and Cap1p, recognizes YRE-O and YRE-A motifs. These findings were supported by structural data available for the transcription factor Pap1p (Schizosaccharomyces pombe). Thus, whereas arginine and lysine substitutions in Cgap1p and Yap1p proteins were reported as responsible for a specific YRE-O or YRE-A preference, our analyses rather suggest that the ancestral yeast AP-1 protein could recognize both YRE-O and YRE-A motifs and that the arginine/lysine exchange is not the only determinant of the specialization of modern Yaps for one motif or another.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 9-June-2011
Author(s): Goudot C., Etchebest C., Devaux F., Lelandais G.