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Boundary elements are thought to define the peripheries of chromatin domains and to restrict enhancer-promoter interactions to their target genes within their domains. We previously characterized a cDNA encoding the BEAF- 32A protein (32A), which hinds with high affinity to the scs' boundary element from the Drosophila melanogaster 87A7 hsp70 locus. Here, we report a second protein, BEAF-32B, that differs from 32A only in its amino terminus. Unlike 32A, it has the same DNA binding specificity as the complete BEAF activity affinity purified from Drosophila. We characterize three domains in these proteins. Heterocomplex formation is mediated by their identical carboxy-terminal domains, and DNA binding is mediated by their unique amino- terminal domains. The identical middle domains of 32A and 32B are dispensable for the functions described here, although they may be important for boundary element function. 32A and 32B apparently form trimers, and the ratio of 32A to 32B varies at different loci on polytene chromosomes as judged by immunofluorescence. The scs' element contains a high- and low-affinity binding site for BEAF. We observed that interaction with the low-affinity site is facilitated by binding to the high-affinity site some 200 bp distant.

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Molecular and Cellular Biology

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