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Direct Targeting of Light Signals to a Promoter Element-Bound Transcription Factor

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Science  05 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5467, pp. 859-863
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5467.859

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Abstract

Light signals perceived by the phytochrome family of sensory photoreceptors are transduced to photoresponsive genes by an unknown mechanism. Here, we show that the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor PIF3 binds specifically to a G-box DNA-sequence motif present in various light-regulated gene promoters, and that phytochrome B binds reversibly to G-box–bound PIF3 specifically upon light-triggered conversion of the photoreceptor to its biologically active conformer. We suggest that the phytochromes may function as integral light-switchable components of transcriptional regulator complexes, permitting continuous and immediate sensing of changes in this environmental signal directly at target gene promoters.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: quail{at}nature.berkeley.edu

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