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Prof. Eric Arnoys

DNA-binding proteins

Zinc fingers (PDB code 1ZAA, structure generated with PyMOL) are a common motif found in DNA recognition:

zn fingers

A zinc ion is coordinated between two histidine residues and two cysteines:

zn fingers

The other face of the alpha helix contains polar amino acids that hydrogen bond with the bases in the major groove of the DNA molecule.

Another means to interact with DNA is the leucine zipper (PDB code 1YSA):

leu zip

Two alpha helices with leucines on the common face interdigitate, holding them together:

leu zip

This allows the helices to clamp down like chopsticks on the DNA.

leu zip

Catabolite activator protein (PDB code 1CGP), a dimer, in action binding to DNA:

CAP

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