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J Biol Chem. 2002 Feb 8;277(6):3850-6. Epub 2001 Nov 28.

Validated zinc finger protein designs for all 16 GNN DNA triplet targets.

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Sangamo BioSciences Inc., Point Richmond Technical Center, Richmond, California 94804, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Biol Chem 2002 Apr 19;277(16):14350.


The Cys(2)-His(2)-type zinc finger DNA-binding proteins can be engineered to bind specifically to many different DNA sequences. A single zinc finger typically binds to a 3-4-base pair DNA subsite. One strategy for design is to identify highly specific fingers that recognize each of the 64 possible DNA triplets. We started with a subgroup of the 64 triplets, the GNN-binding fingers. The GNN-binding fingers have been examined in several studies, but previous studies did not produce specific fingers for all of the 16 GNN triplets. These previous studies did not provide any information on the possible positional or context effects on the performance of these fingers. To identify the most specific design and take the possible positional effects into consideration, we did a large-scale site selection experiment on our GNN designs. From this study, we identified very specific fingers for 14 of the 16 GNN triplets, demonstrating for the first time a clear positional dependence for many of the designs. Further systematic specificity study reveals that the in vivo functionality of these zinc finger proteins in a reporter assay depends on their binding affinities to their target sequences, thus giving a better understanding of how these zinc finger proteins might function inside cells.

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