Structural insights into the π-π-π stacking mechanism and DNA-binding activity of the YEATS domain
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The YEATS domain has been identified as a reader of histone acylation and more recently emerged as a promising anti-cancer therapeutic target. Here, we detail the structural mechanisms for π-π-π stacking involving the YEATS domains of yeast Taf14 and human AF9 and acylated histone H3 peptides and explore DNA-binding activities of these domains. Taf14-YEATS selects for crotonyllysine, forming π stacking with both the crotonyl amide and the alkene moiety, whereas AF9-YEATS exhibits comparable affinities to saturated and unsaturated acyllysines, engaging them through π stacking with the acyl amide. Importantly, AF9-YEATS is capable of binding to DNA, whereas Taf14-YEATS is not. Using a structure-guided approach, we engineered a mutant of Taf14-YEATS that engages crotonyllysine through the aromatic-aliphatic-aromatic π stacking and shows high selectivity for the crotonyl H3K9 modification. Our findings shed light on the molecular principles underlying recognition of acyllysine marks and reveal a previously unidentified DNA-binding activity of AF9-YEATS.
author list (cited authors)
Klein, B. J., Vann, K. R., Andrews, F. H., Wang, W. W., Zhang, J., Zhang, Y. i., ... Kutateladze, T. G.