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J Biol Chem. 2004 Sep 17;279(38):39789-97. Epub 2004 Jul 2.

A classic zinc finger from friend of GATA mediates an interaction with the coiled-coil of transforming acidic coiled-coil 3.

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  • 1School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, G08, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


Classic zinc finger domains (cZFs) consist of a beta-hairpin followed by an alpha-helix. They are among the most abundant of all protein domains and are often found in tandem arrays in DNA-binding proteins, with each finger contributing an alpha-helix to effect sequence-specific DNA recognition. Lone cZFs, not found in tandem arrays, have been postulated to function in protein interactions. We have studied the transcriptional co-regulator Friend of GATA (FOG), which contains nine zinc fingers. We have discovered that the third cZF of FOG contacts a coiled-coil domain in the centrosomal protein transforming acidic coiled-coil 3 (TACC3). Although FOG-ZF3 exhibited low solubility, we have used a combination of mutational mapping and protein engineering to generate a derivative that was suitable for in vitro and structural analysis. We report that the alpha-helix of FOG-ZF3 recognizes a C-terminal portion of the TACC3 coiled-coil. Remarkably, the alpha-helical surface utilized by FOG-ZF3 is the same surface responsible for the well established sequence-specific DNA-binding properties of many other cZFs. Our data demonstrate the versatility of cZFs and have implications for the analysis of many as yet uncharacterized cZF proteins.

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