Role of chromatin and Xenopus laevis heat shock transcription factor in regulation of transcription from the X. laevis hsp70 promoter in vivo

N. Landsberger, A. P. Wolffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Xenopus laevis oocytes activate transcription from the Xenopus hsp70 promoter within a chromatin template in response to heat shock. Expression of exogenous Xenopus heat shock transcription factor 1 (XHSF1) causes the activation of the wild-type hsp70 promoter within chromatin. XHSF1 activates transcription at normal growth temperatures (18°C), but heat shock (34°C) facilitates transcriptional activation. Titration of chromatin in vivo leads to constitutive transcription from the wild-type hsp70 promoter. The Y box elements within the hsp70 promoter facilitate transcription in the presence or absence of chromatin. The presence of the Y box elements prevents the assembly of canonical nucleosomal arrays over the promoter and facilitates transcription. In a mutant hsp70 promoter lacking Y boxes, exogenous XHSF1 activates transcription from a chromatin template much more efficiently under heat shock conditions. Activation of transcription from the mutant promoter by exogenous XHSF1 correlates with the disappearance of a canonical nucleosomal array over the promoter. Chromatin structure on a mutant hsp70 promoter lacking Y boxes can restrict XHSF1 access; however, on both mutant and wild-type promoters, chromatin assembly can also restrict the function of the basal transcriptional machinery. We suggest that chromatin assembly has a physiological role in establishing a transcriptionally repressed state on the Xenopus hsp70 promoter in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6013-6024
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology

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