Domain

Zinc finger, C2H2 (IPR007087)

Short name: Znf_C2H2

Domain relationships

Description

Zinc finger (Znf) domains are relatively small protein motifs which contain multiple finger-like protrusions that make tandem contacts with their target molecule. Some of these domains bind zinc, but many do not; instead binding other metals such as iron, or no metal at all. For example, some family members form salt bridges to stabilise the finger-like folds. They were first identified as a DNA-binding motif in transcription factor TFIIIA from Xenopus laevis (African clawed frog), however they are now recognised to bind DNA, RNA, protein and/or lipid substrates [PMID: 10529348, PMID: 15963892, PMID: 15718139, PMID: 17210253, PMID: 12665246]. Their binding properties depend on the amino acid sequence of the finger domains and of the linker between fingers, as well as on the higher-order structures and the number of fingers. Znf domains are often found in clusters, where fingers can have different binding specificities. There are many superfamilies of Znf motifs, varying in both sequence and structure. They display considerable versatility in binding modes, even between members of the same class (e.g. some bind DNA, others protein), suggesting that Znf motifs are stable scaffolds that have evolved specialised functions. For example, Znf-containing proteins function in gene transcription, translation, mRNA trafficking, cytoskeleton organisation, epithelial development, cell adhesion, protein folding, chromatin remodelling and zinc sensing, to name but a few [PMID: 11179890]. Zinc-binding motifs are stable structures, and they rarely undergo conformational changes upon binding their target.

The C2H2 zinc finger is the classical zinc finger domain. The two conserved cysteines and histidines co-ordinate a zinc ion. The following pattern describes the zinc finger: #-X-C-X(1-5)-C-X3-#-X5-#-X2-H-X(3-6)-[H/C], where X can be any amino acid, and numbers in brackets indicate the number of residues. The positions marked # are those that are important for the stable fold of the zinc finger. The final position can be either his or cys. The C2H2 zinc finger is composed of two short beta strands followed by an alpha helix. The amino terminal part of the helix binds the major groove in DNA binding zinc fingers. The accepted consensus binding sequence for Sp1 is usually defined by the asymmetric hexanucleotide core GGGCGG but this sequence does not include, among others, the GAG (=CTC) repeat that constitutes a high-affinity site for Sp1 binding to the wt1 promoter [PMID: 12683994].

This entry represents the classical C2H2 zinc finger domain.

GO terms

Biological Process

No terms assigned in this category.

Molecular Function

GO:0046872 metal ion binding

Cellular Component

No terms assigned in this category.

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.
PROSITE patterns
Pfam
PROSITE profiles