Dissociation rate compensation mechanism for budding yeast pioneer transcription factors

Benjamin T. Donovan, Hengye Chen, Caroline Jipa, Lu Bai, Michael G. Poirier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Nucleosomes restrict the occupancy of most transcription factors (TF) by reducing binding and accelerating dissociation, while a small group of TFs have high affinities to nucleosome-embedded sites and facilitate nucleosome displacement. To understand this process mechanistically, we investigated two Saccharomyces cerevisiae TFs, Reb1 and Cbf1. We show that these factors bind to their sites within nucleosomes with similar binding affinities as to naked DNA, trapping a partially unwrapped nucleosome without histone eviction. Both the binding and dissociation rates of Reb1 and Cbf1 are significantly slower at the nucleosomal sites relative to those for naked DNA, demonstrating that the high affinities are achieved by increasing the dwell time on nucleosomes in order to compensate for reduced binding. Reb1 also shows slow migration rate in the yeast nuclei. These properties are similar to those of human pioneer factors (PFs), suggesting that the mechanism of nucleosome targeting is conserved from yeast to humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere43008
StatePublished - Mar 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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