RAG-1 and RAG-2 initiate V(D)J recombination through synapsis and cleavage of a 12/23 pair of V(D)J recombination signal sequences (RSS). RAG-RSS complex assembly and activity in vitro is promoted by high mobility group proteins of the "HMG-box" family, exemplified by HMGB1. How HMGB1 stimulates the DNA binding and cleavage activity of the RAG complex remains unclear. HMGB1 contains two homologous HMG-box DNA binding domains, termed A and B, linked by a stretch of basic residues to a highly acidic C-terminal tail. To identify determinants of HMGB1 required for stimulation of RAG-mediated RSS binding and cleavage, we prepared an extensive panel of mutant HMGB1 proteins and tested their ability to augment RAG-mediated RSS binding and cleavage activity. Using a combination of mobility shift and in-gel cleavage assays, we find that HMGB1 promotes RAG-mediated cleavage largely through the activity of box B, but optimal stimulation requires a functional A box tethered in the correct orientation. Box A or B mutants fail to promote RAG synaptic complex formation, but this defect is alleviated when the acidic tail is removed from these mutants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology