Homologous Superfamily

AP2/ERF domain superfamily (IPR036955)

Short name: AP2/ERF_dom_sf

Overlapping entries


Ethylene is an endogenous plant hormone that influences many aspects of plant growth and development. Some defense related genes that are induced by ethylene contain a cis-regulatory element known as the Ethylene-Responsive Element (ERE) [PMID: 2535512]. Sequence analysis on various ERE regions has identified a short motif rich in G/C nucleotides, the GCC-box, essential for the response to ethylene. This short motif is recognised by a family of transcrition factors, the ERE binding factors (ERF) [PMID: 10715325].

ERF proteins contain a domain of around 60 amino acids which is also found in the APETALA2 (AP2) protein [PMID: 7773013]. This AP2/ERF domain has been shown in various proteins to be necessary and sufficient to bind the GCC-box [PMID: 9756931].

The structure of the AP2/ERF domain in complex with the target DNA has been solved [PMID: 9736626]. The structure resembles that of bacteriophage integrases and the methyl-CpG-binding domain (MBD): a three-stranded beta-sheet and an alpha helix almost parallel to the beta-sheet. It contacts DNA via Arg and Trp residues located in the beta-sheet.

Some proteins known to contain an AP2/ERF domain include:

  • Arabidopsis thaliana ERF1 to 6.
  • Tobacco ethylene-responsive element-binding proteins (EREBPs), homologues of ERF proteins.
  • Arabidopsis thaliana AP2 protein. It regulates meristeme identity, floral organ specification and seed coat development.
  • Arabidopsis thaliana C-repeat/dehydration-responsive element (DRE) binding factor 1 (CBF1 or DREB1) and DREB2. They bind a GCC-box-like element found in dehydratation responsive element. Binding to this element mediates cold-inducible transcription.
  • Arabidopsis thaliana and maize abscisic acid (ABA)-insensitive 4 (ABI4) proteins. They bind to a GCC-box-like element found in ABA-responsive genes.
  • Octadecanoid-derivative responsive catharenthus AP2-domain (ORCA2) protein. It binds a GCC-box-like element in the jasmonate responsive element of Str promoter.
  • Tomato Pto-interacting proteins 4 to 6 (Pti4 to Pti6). Pti5 and 6 bind a GCC-box-like element in regulatory regions of various pathogenesis-related (PR) genes.
  • Trichodesmium erythraeum, Tetrahymena thermophila, Enterobacteria phage RB49 and bacteriophage Felix 01 HNH endonucleases. HNH endonucleases are homing endonucleases that move extensively via lateral gene transfer [PMID: 15319480].

This entry represents the AP2/ERF domain superfamily.

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0006355 regulation of transcription, DNA-templated

Molecular Function

GO:0003700 DNA-binding transcription factor activity

Cellular Component

No terms assigned in this category.

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.