She said that “in DNA palindromes, the first half of the palindromic DNA sequence (the left ‘half-site’) is repeated as its reverse complement (the right ‘half-site’) on the same DNA strand and thus follows in reverse orientation on the opposite strand (e.g., 5’ TAATTGAATTA 3’ and 3’ ATTAACTTAAT 5’). Regulatory palindromes are typically imperfect, that is, the repeated sequences differ in at least one base pair,” she said, “but the functional significance of this asymmetry remains poorly understood.”
In their paper, Datta and Rister review the use of imperfect palindromes in Drosophila photoreceptor differentiation and mammalian steroid receptor signaling, and discuss mechanistic explanations for the predominance of imperfect palindromes over perfect palindromes in these two gene regulatory contexts.
The authors also explore whether particular imperfectly palindromic variants have specific regulatory functions in steroid receptor signaling and whether such variants can help predict transcriptional outcomes as well as the response of individual patients to drug treatments.
Grace Carey ’21 and Addie Dumm ’22, who have been working with Datta on this project, are acknowledged in the manuscript. Both have worked on the functional significance of DNA palindromes for their senior thesis projects. Dumm is currently cloning DNA palindromes to test their functionality in early embryogenesis.