Preferential binding of IFI16 protein to cruciform structure and superhelical DNA
Interferon (IFN)-inducible HIN-200 proteins play an important role in transcriptional regulation linked to cell cycle control, inflammation, autoimmunity and differentiation. IFI16 has been identified as a target of IFN alpha and gamma and is a member of the HIN-200 protein family. Expression level of IFI16 is often decreased in breast cancers, implicating its role as a tumor suppressor. As a potent transcription factor, IFI16 possesses a transcriptional regulatory region, a PYD/DAPIN/PAAD region which associates with IFN response, DNA-binding domains and binding regions for tumor suppressor proteins BRCA1 and p53. It is also reported that IFI16 protein is capable of binding p53 and cMYC gene promoters. Here, we demonstrate that IFI16 protein binds strongly to negatively superhelical plasmid DNA at a native superhelix density, as evidenced by electrophoretic retardation of supercoiled (sc) DNA in agarose gels. Binding of IFI16 to supercoiled DNA results in the appearance of one or more retarded DNA bands on the gels. After removal of IFI16, the original mobility of the scDNA is recovered. By contrast, IFI16 protein binds very weakly to the same DNA in linear state. Using short oligonucleotide targets, we also detect a strong preference for IFI16 binding to cruciform DNA structure compared to linear DNA topology. Hence, this novel DNA-binding property of IFI16 protein to scDNA and cruciform structures may play critical roles in its tumor suppressor function. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.