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Structure. 2004 Jun;12(6):987-98.

The structure of the N-terminal domain of the product of the lissencephaly gene Lis1 and its functional implications.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics and Cancer Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


Mutations in the Lis1 gene result in lissencephaly (smooth brain), a debilitating developmental syndrome caused by the impaired ability of postmitotic neurons to migrate to their correct destination in the cerebral cortex. Sequence similarities suggest that the LIS1 protein contains a C-terminal seven-blade beta-propeller domain, while the structure of the N-terminal fragment includes the LisH (Lis-homology) motif, a pattern found in over 100 eukaryotic proteins with a hitherto unknown function. We present the 1.75 A resolution crystal structure of the N-terminal domain of mouse LIS1, and we show that the LisH motif is a novel, thermodynamically very stable dimerization domain. The structure explains the molecular basis of a low severity form of lissencephaly.

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