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EMBO J. 1996 Jan 2;15(1):125-34.

Solution structure of the ETS domain from murine Ets-1: a winged helix-turn-helix DNA binding motif.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z3.


Ets-1 is the prototypic member of the ets family of transcription factors. This family is characterized by the conserved ETS domain that mediates specific DNA binding. Using NMR methods, we have determined the structure of a fragment of murine Ets-1 composed of the 85 residue ETS domain and a 25 amino acid extension that ends at its native C-terminus. The ETS domain folds into a helix-turn-helix motif on a four-stranded anti-parallel beta-sheet scaffold. This structure places Ets-1 in the winged helix-turn-helix (wHTH) family of DNA binding proteins and provides a model for interpreting the sequence conservation of the ETS domain and the specific interaction of Ets-1 with DNA. The C-terminal sequence of Ets-1, which is mutated in the v-Ets oncoprotein, forms an alpha-helix that packs anti-parallel to the N-terminal helix of the ETS domain. In this position, the C-terminal helix is poised to interact directly with an N-terminal inhibitory region in Ets-1 as well as the wHTH motif. This explains structurally the concerted role of residues flanking the ETS domain in the intramolecular inhibition of Ets-1 DNA binding.

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