Genetic selection for constitutively trimerized human HSF1 mutants identifies a role for coiled-coil motifs in DNA binding.
Human heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) promotes the expression of stress-responsive genes and is a critical factor for the cellular protective response to proteotoxic and other stresses. In response to stress, HSF1 undergoes a transition from a repressed cytoplasmic monomer to a homotrimer, accumulates in the nucleus, binds DNA, and activates target gene transcription. Although these steps occur as sequential and highly regulated events, our understanding of the full details of the HSF1 activation pathway remains incomplete. Here we describe a genetic screen in humanized yeast that identifies constitutively trimerized HSF1 mutants. Surprisingly, constitutively trimerized HSF1 mutants do not bind to DNA in vivo in the absence of stress and only become DNA binding competent upon stress exposure, suggesting that an additional level of regulation beyond trimerization and nuclear localization may be required for HSF1 DNA binding. Furthermore, we identified a constitutively trimerized and nuclear-localized HSF1 mutant, HSF1 L189P, located in LZ3 of the HSF1 trimerization domain, which in response to proteotoxic stress is strongly compromised for DNA binding at the Hsp70 and Hsp25 promoters but readily binds to the interleukin-6 promoter, suggesting that HSF1 DNA binding is in part regulated in a locus-dependent manner, perhaps via promoter-specific differences in chromatin architecture. Furthermore, these results implicate the LZ3 region of the HSF1 trimerization domain in a function beyond its canonical role in HSF1 trimerization.
Neef, DW; Jaeger, AM; Thiele, DJ
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