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BEAF (Boundary Element-Associated Factor) was originally identified as a Drosophila melanoga st er chromatin domain insulator-binding protein, suggesting a role in gene regulation through chromatin organization and dynamics. Genome-wide mapping found that BEAF usually binds near transcription start sites, often of housekeeping genes, suggesting a role in promoter function. This would be a nontraditional role for an insulator-binding protein. To gain insight into molecular mechanisms of BEAF function, we identified interacting proteins using yeast two-hybrid assays. Here, we focus on the transcription factor Serendipity δ (Sry-δ). Interactions were confirmed in pull-down experiments using bacterially expressed proteins, by bimolecular fluorescence complementation, and in a genetic assay in transgenic flies. Sry-δ interacted with promoter-proximal BEAF both when bound to DNA adjacent to BEAF or > 2-kb upstream to activate a reporter gene in transient transfection experiments. The interaction between BEAF and Sry-δ was detected using both a minimal developmental promoter (y) and a housekeeping promoter (RpS12), while BEAF alone strongly activated the housekeeping promoter. These two functions for BEAF implicate it in playing a direct role in gene regulation at hundreds of BEAF-associated promoters. Copyright © 2020 by the Genetics Society of America.


Yuankai Dong, S V Satya Prakash Avva, Mukesh Maharjan, Janice Jacobi, Craig M Hart. Promoter-Proximal Chromatin Domain Insulator Protein BEAF Mediates Local and Long-Range Communication with a Transcription Factor and Directly Activates a Housekeeping Promoter in Drosophila. Genetics. 2020 May;215(1):89-101

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PMID: 32179582

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