Hox homeodomain proteins are developmental regulators that determine body plan in a variety of organisms. A majority of the vertebrate Hox proteins bind DNA as heterodimers with the Pbx1 homeodomain protein. We report here the 2.35 Å structure of a ternary complex containing a human HoxB1-Pbx1 heterodimer bound to DNA. Heterodimer contacts are mediated by the hexapeptide of HoxB1, which binds in a pocket in fie Pbx1 protein formed in part by a three-amino acid insertion in the Pbx1 homeodomain. The Pbx1 DNA- binding domain is larger than the canonical homeodomain, containing an additional α helix that appears to contribute to binding of the HoxB1 hexapeptide and to stable binding of Pbx1 to DNA. The structure suggests a model for modulation of Hox DNA binding activity by Pbx1 and related proteins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)