Negatively charged, intrinsically disordered regions can accelerate target search by DNA-binding proteins

Xi Wang, Lavi S Bigman, Harry M Greenblatt, Binhan Yu, Yaakov Levy, Junji Iwahara

Nucleic Acids Research, gkad045,

Many DNA/RNA-binding proteins possess intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) with large negative charge, some of which involve a consecutive sequence of aspartate (D) or glutamate (E) residues. We refer to them as D/E repeats. The functional role of D/E repeats is not well understood, though some of them are known to cause autoinhibition. Here, using the HMGB1 protein and the artificial protein constructs of the Antp homeodomain fused with D/E repeats, we demonstrate that D/E repeats can accelerate the target search process in the presence of non-functional high-affinity ligands (‘decoys’). Our coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CGMD) simulations and kinetic model provide mechanistic insight into this acceleration. Our current study illuminates an unprecedented role of the negatively charged IDRs.

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