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Zinc fingers can act as Zn2+ sensors to regulate transcriptional activation domain function

By Amanda J. Bird, Keith McCall, Michelle Kramer, Elizabeth Blankman, Dennis R. Winge and David J. Eide


The yeast Zap1 transcription factor controls the expression of genes involved in zinc accumulation and storage. Zap1 is active in zinc-limited cells and repressed in replete cells. Zap1 has two activation domains, AD1 and AD2, which are both regulated by zinc. AD2 function was mapped to a region containing two Cys2His2 zinc fingers, ZF1 and ZF2, that are not involved in DNA binding. More detailed mapping placed AD2 almost precisely within the endpoints of ZF2, suggesting a role for these fingers in regulating activation domain function. Consistent with this hypothesis, ZF1 and ZF2 bound zinc in vitro but less stably than did zinc fingers involved in DNA binding. Furthermore, mutations predicted to disrupt zinc binding to ZF1 and/or ZF2 rendered AD2 constitutively active. Our results also indicate that the repressed form of AD2 requires an intramolecular interaction between ZF1 and ZF2. These studies suggest that these zinc fingers play an unprecedented role as zinc sensors to control activation domain function

Topics: Articles
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.1093/emboj
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:204467
Provided by: PubMed Central
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