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Nat Biotechnol. 1999 Feb;17(2):170-5.

Mutagenesis and selection of PDZ domains that bind new protein targets.

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Institut für Medizinische Virologie, Universität Zürich, Switzerland.


PDZ domains are a recently characterized protein-recognition module. In most cases, PDZ domains bind to the C-terminal end of target proteins and are thought thereby to link these target proteins into functional signaling networks. We report the isolation of artificial PDZ domains selected via a mutagenesis screen in vivo, each recognizing a different C-terminal peptide. We demonstrate that the PDZ domains isolated can bind selectively to their target peptides in vitro and in vivo. Two of the target peptides chosen are the C-terminal ends of two cellular transmembrane proteins with which no known PDZ domains have been reported to interact. By targeting these artificial PDZ domains to the nucleus, interacting target peptides were efficiently transported to the same subcellular localization. One of the isolated PDZ domains was tested and shown to be efficiently directed to the plasma membrane when cotransfected with the full-length transmembrane protein in mammalian cells. Thus, artificial PDZ domains can be engineered and used to target intracellular proteins to different subcellular compartments.

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