skip to primary navigationskip to content

The Importance of Promiscuity

last modified Jan 17, 2014 10:32 AM

New research published in Science reveals how a critical plant transcription factor has undergone radical evolutionary change in DNA binding specificity. Combining high-throughout sequencing, crystallographic analysis and phylogenetic reconstruction, the authors show that the DNA binding mode of LEAFY, a central regulator of flower development, changed multiple times during evolution, via a promiscuous intermediate. This promiscuous LEAFY adopts a unique configuration on the DNA that allows it to bind several distinct DNA motifs, providing a smooth pathway between abrupt shifts in binding specificity.  This work reveals a new mechanism for transcription factor evolution that can operate independently of gene duplication, but could also contribute to the evolution of transcription factors encoded by multi-gene families.

Edwige Moyroud from the Glover lab is a joint-first author on this study, initiated during her PhD in the Parcy lab in Grenoble (France). Samuel Brockington is also a co-author on the paper.

Link to the paper: doi 10.1126/science.1248229

The Department has carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and has opened to allow research work to take place. To ensure the safety of our staff, a range of measures to reduce building occupancy and allow strict social distancing have been introduced, including increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. We are currently not accepting visitors so please continue to contact us by email until further notice.