A number of eukaryotlc DNA binding proteins have been Jsolated by screening phage expression libraries with DNA probes containing the binding site of the DNA-binding protein. This methodology was employed here to isolate clones of the factor that interacts with the W box element of the human major histocompatibility complex HLA-DQB gene. Surprisingly, several cDNA clones of YB-1, a cDNA clone that was previously isolated with a CCAAT element-containing sequence were found. Independently, the screening of phage expression libraries with depurinated DNA resulted in the isolation of YB-1 and dbpA, a previously isolated cDNA that has homology to YB-1. Additional characterization of YB-1 showed that it bound a wide variety of DNA sequences and suggested that the binding of this protein is promiscuous. Furthermore, we show that both YB-1 and dbpA bind to depurinated DNA better than undamaged DNA and that the extent of specificity of binding is influenced by Mg2+. Due to the lack of sequence specificity and high degree of binding to depurinated DNA, we suggest that these proteins might be involved in chromosome functions such as maintenance of chromatin structure or DNA repair that do not require sequence-specific binding.
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