Dimerization of many eukaryotic transcription regulatory factors is critical for their function. Regulatory role of an epigenetic reader lens epithelium-derived growth factor/p75 (LEDGF/p75) requires at least two copies of this protein to overcome the nucleosome-induced barrier to transcription elongation. Moreover, various LEDGF/p75 binding partners are enriched for dimeric features, further underscoring the functional regulatory role of LEDGF/p75 dimerization. Here, we dissected the minimal dimerization region in the C-terminal part of LEDGF/p75 and, using paramagnetic NMR spectroscopy, identified the key molecular contacts that helped to refine the solution structure of the dimer. The LEDGF/p75 dimeric assembly is stabilized by domain swapping within the integrase binding domain and additional electrostatic "stapling" of the negatively charged α helix formed in the intrinsically disordered C-terminal region. We validated the dimerization mechanism using structure-inspired dimerization defective LEDGF/p75 variants and chemical crosslinking coupled to mass spectrometry. We also show how dimerization might affect the LEDGF/p75 interactome.
Keywords: PSIP1; domain swapping; eletrostatic stapling; epigenetics; mixed-lineage leukemia; paramagnetic NMR; protein-protein interaction; transcription.
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