The Arabidopsis floral homeotic geneAGAMOUS (AG) is required for normal flower development. The deduced AG protein contains a region which shares substantial sequence similarity with the DNA-binding domains of known transcription factors, SRF (human) and MCM1 (yeast). Therefore, it is likely that AG is also a DNA-binding protein regulating transcription of floral genes. We describe here several experiments to characterize AG-DNA binding in vitro. We show that AG indeed binds a DNA sequence matching the consensus of SRF targets. Further, we have selected the AGbinding sequences from a pool of random oligonucleotides, and deduced an AG-binding consensus sequence of TT(A/T)CC(A/T)(A/t)2(T/A)NNGG(-G)(A/t)2. We have demonstrated that AG binds to the consensus region of three of the oligonucleotides by footprinting analysis. Finally, we have examined AG′s relative binding affinity for different sequences, as compared to SRF, by gel mobility shift analysis. Our results indicate that AG is a sequence-specific DNA-binding protein, and that the AG-binding consensus sequence is similar to those of MCM1 and SRF.
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