Corrupted DNA-binding specificity and ectopic transcription underpin dominant neomorphic mutations in KLF/SP transcription factors

Melissa D. Ilsley, Stephen Huang, Graham W. Magor, Michael J. Landsberg, Kevin R. Gillinder, Andrew C. Perkins

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mutations in the transcription factor, KLF1, are common within certain populations of the world. Heterozygous missense mutations in KLF1 mostly lead to benign phenotypes, but a heterozygous mutation in a DNA-binding residue (E325K in human) results in severe Congenital Dyserythropoietic Anemia type IV (CDA IV); i.e. an autosomal-dominant disorder characterized by neonatal hemolysis. Results: To investigate the biochemical and genetic mechanism of CDA IV, we generated murine erythroid cell lines that harbor tamoxifen-inducible (ER™) versions of wild type and mutant KLF1 on a Klf1 -/- genetic background. Nuclear translocation of wild type KLF1 results in terminal erythroid differentiation, whereas mutant KLF1 results in hemolysis without differentiation. The E to K variant binds poorly to the canonical 9 bp recognition motif (NGG-GYG-KGG) genome-wide but binds at high affinity to a corrupted motif (NGG-GRG-KGG). We confirmed altered DNA-binding specificity by quantitative in vitro binding assays of recombinant zinc-finger domains. Our results are consistent with previously reported structural data of KLF-DNA interactions. We employed 4sU-RNA-seq to show that a corrupted transcriptome is a direct consequence of aberrant DNA binding. Conclusions: Since all KLF/SP family proteins bind DNA in an identical fashion, these results are likely to be generally applicable to mutations in all family members. Importantly, they explain how certain mutations in the DNA-binding domain of transcription factors can generate neomorphic functions that result in autosomal dominant disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number417
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2019


  • 4sU-RNA labeling
  • CDA
  • ChIP-seq
  • Hemolysis
  • KLF1

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