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Structure. 2002 Jun;10(6):787-95.

Structure of the retinal determination protein Dachshund reveals a DNA binding motif.

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  • 1Structural Biology Program, Skirball Institute, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY 10016, USA.


The Dachshund proteins are essential components of a regulatory network controlling cell fate determination. They have been implicated in eye, limb, brain, and muscle development. These proteins cannot be assigned to any recognizable structural or functional class based on amino acid sequence analysis. The 1.65 A crystal structure of the most conserved domain of human DACHSHUND is reported here. The protein forms an alpha/beta structure containing a DNA binding motif similar to that found in the winged helix/forkhead subgroup of the helix-turn-helix family. This unexpected finding alters the previously proposed molecular models for the role of Dachshund in the eye determination pathway. Furthermore, it provides a rational framework for future mechanistic analyses of the Dachshund proteins in several developmental contexts.

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