Understanding the relationship between IRF-1 and the transcriptional repressor ZNF350
Mallin, Lucy Janet
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Interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1) is a transcription factor and tumour suppressor, involved in many diverse cellular processes including immune responses and growth regulation. An interesting feature of IRF-1 is that it can both activate and repress gene expression, possibly by acting with co-activator or co-repressor proteins. In a previous phage display assay, a homologous peptide to the known repressor protein, zinc finger 350 (ZNF350), was found to bind to the C-terminus of IRF-1. ZNF350, also known as ZBRK1 (Zinc finger and BRCA1-interacting protein with KRAB domain-1), is a member of the Krüppel-associated box (KRAB)-containing zinc finger (KZF) proteins, which is a group of the widely distributed transcriptional repression proteins in mammals. ZNF350 has previously been shown to repress the expression of a number of genes including ANG1 and GADD45A, often in complex with other proteins. This study confirms the direct interaction between IRF-1 and ZNF350 and identifies key residues, including the LXXLL repression motif within the C-terminus of IRF-1, necessary for the binding interface. The two proteins have additionally been shown to interact within a cellular environment, shown by using techniques including immunoprecipitation and a proximity ligation assay. In addition, the ZNF350/IRF-1 complex formation appears to occur in the basal state of the cell, as opposed to in response to cellular stress such as viral infection or DNA damage. On the basis of ZNF350 being a negative regulator of transcription, a novel technique was developed to identify putative targets of both ZNF350 and IRF-1. This involved an initial bioinformatics screen using candidate IRF-1 binding site data obtained from CENTIPEDE, an algorithm that combines genome sequence information, with cell-specific experimental data to map bound TF binding sites. This allowed for the identification of novel target genes that contained the ZNF350 consensus binding site, GGGxxCAGxxxTTT, within close proximity to an IRF-1 consensus site, such as the immune response gene IL-12A. Lastly, a peptide phage display screen was combined with high-throughput sequencing to identify other potential binding partners of ZNF350 and perhaps help to understand the mechanism by which transcriptional repression is controlled by complex formation.