Zinc finger protein 809 (ZFP809) is a member of the Kruppel-associated box-containing zinc finger protein (KRAB-ZFP) family, and is highly expressed in mouse immature cells. ZFP809 is known to inhibit the expression of transduced genes driven by Moloney murine leukemia virus (MoMLV)-typed retroviral vectors by binding to the primer binding site (PBS) located downstream of the MLV-long terminal repeat (LTR) of the vectors and recruiting protein complexes that introduce epigenetic silencing marks such as histone modifications and DNA methylation at the MLV-LTR. However, it remains undetermined what domains of ZFP809 among the KRAB domain at N-terminus and the seven zinc fingers are critical for gene silencing. In this study, we assessed subcellular localization, gene silencing ability, and binding ability to the PBS of a series of truncated and mutated ZFP809 proteins. We revealed the essential role of the KRAB A box for all functions assessed, together with the accessory roles of a subset of zinc fingers. Our data also suggest that interaction between KAP1 and the KRAB A box of ZFP809 is critical in KAP1-dependent control of gene silencing for ZFP809 targets.
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