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Exclusivity and Compensation in NFκB Dimer Distributions and IκB Inhibition

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journal contribution
posted on 29.04.2019, 00:00 by Kristen M. Ramsey, Wei Chen, James D. Marion, Simon Bergqvist, Elizabeth A. Komives
The NFκB transcription factor family members RelA, p50, and cRel form homo- and heterodimers that are inhibited by IκBα, IκBβ, and IκBε. These NFκB family members have diverse biological functions, and their expression profiles differ, leading to different concentrations in different tissue types. Here we present definitive biophysical measurements of the NFκB dimer affinities and inhibitor affinities to better understand dimer exchange and how the presence of inhibitors may alter the equilibrium concentrations of NFκB dimers in the cellular context. Fluorescence anisotropy binding experiments were performed at low concentrations to mimic intracellular concentrations. We report binding affinities much stronger than those that had been previously reported by non-equilibrium gel shift and analytical ultracentrifugation assays. The results reveal a wide range of NFκB dimer affinities and a strong preference of each IκB for a small subset of NFκB dimers. Once the preferred IκB is bound, dimer exchange no longer occurs over a period of days. A mathematical model of the cellular distribution of these canonical NFκB transcription factors based on the revised binding affinities recapitulates intracellular observations and provides simple, precise explanations for observed cellular phenomena.