The 9aaTAD Is Exclusive Activation Domain in Gal4

PLoS One. 2017 Jan 5;12(1):e0169261. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169261. eCollection 2017.


The Gal4 protein is a well-known prototypic acidic activator that has multiple activation domains. We have previously identified a new activation domain called the nine amino acid transactivation domain (9aaTAD) in Gal4 protein. The family of the 9aaTAD activators currently comprises over 40 members including p53, MLL, E2A and other members of the Gal4 family; Oaf1, Pip2, Pdr1 and Pdr3. In this study, we revised function of all reported Gal4 activation domains. Surprisingly, we found that beside of the activation domain 9aaTAD none of the previously reported activation domains had considerable transactivation potential and were not involved in the activation of transcription. Our results demonstrated that the 9aaTAD domain is the only decisive activation domain in the Gal4 protein. We found that the artificial peptides included in the original Gal4 constructs were results of an unintended consequence of cloning that were responsible for the artificial transcriptional activity. Importantly, the activation domain 9aaTAD, which is the exclusive activation domain in Gal4, is also the central part of a conserved sequence recognized by the inhibitory protein Gal80. We propose a revision of the Gal4 regulation, in which the activation domain 9aaTAD is directly linked to both activation function and Gal80 mediated inhibition.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Domains
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / chemistry*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcriptional Activation / genetics
  • Transcriptional Activation / physiology


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • GAL4 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors

Grant support

This work was supported by Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic 15-32935A.