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Plant J. 1993 Jul;4(1):137-50.

HAT3.1, a novel Arabidopsis homeodomain protein containing a conserved cysteine-rich region.

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University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biology, Philadelphia 19104-6018.


Homeodomain proteins have been shown to play a major role in the development of various organisms. A novel Arabidopsis homeodomain protein has been isolated based on its capability to interact with a DNA motif derived from the light-induced cab-E promoter of Nicotiana plumbaginifolia. The homeodomain of this protein, designated HAT3.1, differs substantially from those in other plant homeobox proteins identified so far. Furthermore, HAT3.1 is unique among other Arabidopsis proteins in that it does not contain a leucine zipper motif following the homeodomain. HAT3.1 is further characterized by an N-terminal region that shares substantial sequence similarity with the maize homeodomain protein Zmhox1a. Within this conserved region, the presence of eight regularly spaced cysteine/histidine residues was observed reminiscent of other metal-binding domains. Based on the strong evolutionary conservation of this domain, it is proposed that this region represents a novel protein-motif which is denoted PHD-finger (plant homeodomain-finger). In vitro DNA binding studies demonstrated that HAT3.1 is capable of interacting with any DNA fragment larger than 100 bp. Interestingly, a deletion of the N-terminal PHD-finger domain completely abolished DNA binding, suggesting that this region may play an important functional role in protein-protein or protein-DNA interaction. HAT3.1 mRNA was primarily detected in root tissue, implying a regulatory function of this protein in root development.

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