A special class of poorly characterized architectural proteins is required for chromatin topology and enhancer-promoter interactions. Here, we identify Opbp as a new Drosophila architectural protein, interacting with CP190 both in vivo and in vitro. Opbp binds to a very restrictive set of genomic regions, through a rare sequence specific motif. These sites are co-bound by CP190 in vivo, and generally located at bidirectional promoters of ribosomal protein genes. We show that Opbp is essential for viability, and loss of opbp function, or destruction of its motif, leads to reduced ribosomal protein gene expression, indicating a functional role in promoter activation. As characteristic of architectural/insulator proteins, the Opbp motif is sufficient for distance-dependent reporter gene activation and enhancer-blocking activity, suggesting an Opbp-mediated enhancer-promoter interaction. Rather than having a constitutive role, Opbp represents a new type of architectural protein with a very restricted, yet essential, function in regulation of housekeeping gene expression.
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