Phylogenetic and mutational analyses of human LEUTX, a homeobox gene implicated in embryogenesis

Katayama Shintaro, Vipin Ranga, Jouhilahti Eeva-Mari, Tomi Airenne, Mark S Johnson, Mukherjee Krishanu, Bürglin Thomas R., Kere Juha

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Recently, human PAIRED-LIKE homeobox transcription factor (TF) genes were discovered whose expression is limited to the period of embryo genome activation up to the 8-cell stage. One of these TFs is LEUTX, but its importance for human embryogenesis is still subject to debate. We confirmed that human LEUTX acts as a TAATCC-targeting transcriptional activator, like other K50-type PAIRED-LIKE TFs. Phylogenetic comparisons revealed that Leutx proteins are conserved across Placentalia and comprise two conserved domains, the homeodomain, and a Leutx-specific domain containing putative transcriptional activation motifs (9aaTAD). Examination of human genotype resources revealed 116 allelic variants in LEUTX. Twenty-four variants potentially affect function, but they occur only heterozygously at low frequency. One variant affects a DNA-specificity determining residue,mutationally reachable by a one-base transition. In vitro and in silico experiments showed that thisLEUTX mutation (alanine to valine at position 54 in the homeodomain) results in a transactivational loss-of-function to a minimal TAATCC-containing promoter and a 36 bp motif enriched in genes involved in embryo genome activation. A compensatory change in residue 47 restores function. The resultssupport the notion that human LEUTX functions as a transcriptional activator important for human embryogenesis.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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