Many light-responsive promoters contain GATA motifs and a number of nuclear proteins have been defined that interact with these elements. Type-IV zinc-finger proteins have been extensively characterised in animals and fungi and are referred to as GATA factors by virtue of their affinity for promoter elements containing this sequence. We previously identified cDNA sequences representing four Arabidopsis thaliana type-IV zinc-finger proteins. Here we define the organisation and expression of GATA-1, GATA-2, GATA-3 and GATA-4 as well as DNA-binding characteristics of their encoded proteins. Transcripts from all four genes can be detected in all tissues examined suggesting that they are not developmentally regulated at the level of transcription. In vitro binding experiments with Escherichia coli-derived recombinant proteins were performed using motifs previously defined as targets for nuclear GATA-binding proteins. These studies reveal differences in DNA binding specificity of GATA-1 as compared to the other three proteins. In vivo protein-DNA interactions monitored by yeast one-hybrid assays reveal different binding characteristics as compared to those defined with E. coil-derived recombinant protein. Trans-activation of gene expression by the four Arabidopsis proteins via some, but not all, DNA elements tested indicates that the Arabidopsis proteins can form functional interactions with previously defined promoter elements containing GATA motifs. We conclude that the Arabidopsis type-IV zinc-finger proteins may represent the previously defined family of nuclear GATA-binding proteins implicated in light-responsive transcription.
- GATA transcription factor
- type-IV zinc finger