Sequence preferences of DNA-binding proteins are a primary mechanism by which cells interpret the genome. Despite these proteins' central importance in physiology, development, and evolution, comprehensive DNA-binding specificities have been determined experimentally for few proteins. Here, we used microarrays containing all 10-base-pair sequences to examine the binding specificities of 104 distinct mouse DNA-binding proteins representing 22 structural classes. Our results reveal a complex landscape of binding, with virtually every protein analyzed possessing unique preferences. Roughly half of the proteins each recognized multiple distinctly different sequence motifs, challenging our molecular understanding of how proteins interact with their DNA binding sites. This complexity in DNA recognition may be important in gene regulation and in evolution of transcriptional regulatory networks.
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