A proteomic portrait of dinoflagellate chromatin reveals abundant RNA-binding proteins
Roughly two-thirds of the proteins annotated as transcription factors in dinoflagellate transcriptomes are cold shock domain-containing proteins (CSPs), an uncommon condition in eukaryotic organisms. However, no functional analysis has ever been reported for a dinoflagellate CSP, and so it is not known if they do in fact act as transcription factors. We describe here some of the properties of two CSPs from the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedrum, LpCSP1 and LpCSP2, which contain a glycine-rich C-terminal domain and an N-terminal cold shock domain phylogenetically related to those in bacteria. However, neither of the two LpCSPs act like the bacterial CSP, since they do not functionally complement the Escherichia coli quadruple cold shock domain protein mutant BX04, and cold shock does not induce LpCSP1 and LpCSP2 to detectable levels, based on two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Both CSPs bind to RNA and single-stranded DNA in a nonspecific manner in electrophoretic mobility shift assays, and both proteins also bind double-stranded DNA nonspecifically, albeit more weakly. These CSPs are thus unlikely to act alone as sequence-specific transcription factors. IMPORTANCE Dinoflagellate transcriptomes contain cold shock domain proteins as the major component of the proteins annotated as transcription factors. We show here that the major family of cold shock domain proteins in the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium do not bind specific sequences, suggesting that transcriptional control is not a predominant mechanism for regulating gene expression in this group of protists.