We screened maize (Zea mays) cDNAs for sequences similar to the single myb-like DNA-binding domain of known telomeric complex proteins. We identified, cloned, and sequenced five full-length cDNAs representing a novel gene family, and we describe the analysis of one of them, the gene Single myb histone 1 (Smh1). The Smh1 gene encodes a small, basic protein with a unique triple motif structure of (a) an N-terminal SANT/myb-like domain of the homeodomain-like superfamily of 3-helical-bundle-fold proteins, (b) a central region with homology to the conserved H1 globular domain found in the linker histones H1/H5, and (c) a coiled-coil domain near the C terminus. The Smh-type genes are plant specific and include a gene family in Arabidopsis and the PcMYB1 gene of parsley (Petroselinum crispum) but are distinct from those (AtTRP1, AtTBP1, and OsRTBP1) recently shown to encode in vitro telomere-repeat DNA-binding activity. The Smh1 gene is expressed in leaf tissue and maps to chromosome 8 (bin 8.05), with a duplicate locus on chromosome 3 (bin 3.09). A recombinant full-length SMH1, rSMH1, was found by band-shift assays to bind double-stranded oligonucleotide probes with at least two internal tandem copies of the maize telomere repeat, TTTAGGG. Point mutations in the telomere repeat residues reduced or abolished the binding, whereas rSMH1 bound nonspecifically to single-stranded DNA probes. The two DNA-binding motifs in SMH proteins may provide a link between sequence recognition and chromatin dynamics and may function at telomeres or other sites in the nucleus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science