Interaction between heat shock transcription factors (HSFs) and divergent binding sequences: binding specificities of yeast HSFs and human HSF1.J Biol Chem. 2007 May 04; 282(18):13334-41.JB
The target genes of the heat shock transcription factor (HSF) contain a cis-acting sequence, the heat shock element (HSE), which consists of multiple inverted repeats of the sequence 5'-nGAAn-3'. Using data acquired in this and a previous study, we have identified the HSEs in 59 of 62 target genes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Hsf1. The Hsf1 protein recognizes continuous and discontinuous repeats of the nGAAn unit; the nucleotide sequences and configuration of the units diverge slightly among functional HSEs. When Schizosaccharomyces pombe HSF was expressed in S. cerevisiae cells, heat shock induced S. pombe HSF to bind to various HSE types, which properly activated transcription from almost all target genes, suggesting that the S. pombe genome also contains divergent HSEs. Human HSF1 induced the heat shock response via HSEs with continuous units in S. cerevisiae cells but failed to do so via HSEs with discontinuous units. Binding of human HSF1 to the discontinuous type of HSE was observed in vitro but was significantly inhibited in vivo. These results show that human HSF1 recognizes HSEs in a slightly different way than yeast HSFs and suggest that the configuration of the unit is an important determinant for HSF-HSE interactions.