Synergistic interplay between promoter recognition and CBP/p300 coactivator recruitment by FOXO3a

ACS Chem Biol. 2009 Dec 18;4(12):1017-27. doi: 10.1021/cb900190u.


FOXO3a is a transcription factor belonging to the forkhead box O-Class (FOXO) subfamily, and it regulates metabolism, cell-cycle arrest, cell differentiation, and apoptosis through activating or suppressing gene transcription. FOXO3a contains a well-folded DNA-binding forkhead (FH) domain, but a large portion of the remaining protein sequence (75% of the total) is predicted to comprise intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs). Within the IDRs, there are three conserved regions (CR1-CR3), and it has been shown that CR3 (residues D610-N650) is a transactivation domain that recruits the coactivator histone acetyltransferase (HAT) CBP/p300, through binding to its KIX domain. In a previous study, we determined the solution structure of the FH domain and identified an intramolecular interaction between FH and CR3 domains of FOXO3a. Here we illustrate that the KIX domain of CBP interacts with the central core region (L620-A635) of CR3, which also internally interacts with the FH domain. In this heterotypic interplay, FH prevents CR3 from binding to KIX; however, upon binding to the Forkhead response element (FRE) DNA, the FH domain releases the CR3 domain, allowing it to interact with KIX. While previous studies have shown that the transactivation domains of c-Myb and MLL bind to distinct sites on KIX, our results indicate that FOXO3a CR3 has an ability to bind to both of these sites. These results suggest a model of FOXO3a-dependent coactivator recruitment in which the dynamic interplay between KIX and FH domains for binding to CR3 plays a key regulatory role in gene transcription activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Forkhead Box Protein O3
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / analysis*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Transcriptional Activation*
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors / analysis
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • FOXO3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Box Protein O3
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • DNA
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors