1997 Volume 122 Issue 4 Pages 711-716
Max is a basic region/helix-loop-helix/leucine zipper (b/HLH/Z) protein that forms a hetero-complex with the Myc family proteins Myc, Mad, and Mxil, and a homo-complex with itself. These complexes specifically bind to double-stranded DNA containing CACGTG sequences. Here, we report on the structural properties in aqueous solution of a 109-aminoacid protein, Max110, corresponding to the N-terminal domain of Max containing the b/ HLH/Z motif (residues 2-110), as characterized by combined use of circular dichroism (CD) and sedimentation equilibrium experiments. The results showed that the α-helical content of Max 110 increases with increasing protein concentration. The sedimentation equilibrium data indicated that Max110 exists as a monomer at low protein concentration, and forms a dimer at high protein concentration. Further increases in the α-helical content of Max110 occur upon addition of DNA with the CACGTG recognition sequence. Thus, dimerization and binding to DNA of Max both favor an increase of the α-helical content.