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Plant J. 2004 Mar;37(5):741-9.

The Dof domain, a zinc finger DNA-binding domain conserved only in higher plants, truly functions as a Cys2/Cys2 Zn finger domain.

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Graduate School of Biosphere Science, Hiroshima University, Kagamiyama 1-4-4, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8528, Japan.


The Dof (DNA-binding with one finger) proteins are plant transcription factors that have a highly conserved DNA-binding domain, called the Dof domain. The Dof domain, which is composed of 52 amino acid residues, is similar to the Cys2/Cys2 zinc finger DNA-binding domain of GATA1 and steroid hormone receptors, but has a longer putative loop than that in the case of these zinc finger domains. The DNA-binding function of ascorbate oxidase gene binding protein (AOBP), a Dof protein, was investigated by gel retardation analysis. When Cys was replaced by His, the Dof domain could not function as a Cys3/His- or a Cys2/His2-type zinc finger. The characteristic longer loop was essential for DNA-binding activity. Furthermore, heavy metals such as Co(II), Ni(II), Cd(II), Cu(II), Hg(II), Fe(II), and Fe(III) inhibited the DNA-binding activity of the Dof domain. Manganese ion as well as zinc ion was coordinated by the Dof domain in vitro. On the other hand, the analysis using inductively coupled argon plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) showed that the Dof domain contained zinc ion but not manganese ion. Thus, the Dof domain was proved to function as a Cys2/Cys2 zinc finger domain.

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