Zinc finger, LIM-type (IPR001781)
Short name: Znf_LIM
Overlapping homologous superfamilies
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.
This entry represents LIM-type zinc finger (Znf) domains. LIM domains coordinate one or more zinc atoms, and are named after the three proteins (LIN-11, Isl1 and MEC-3) in which they were first found. They consist of two zinc-binding motifs that resemble GATA-like Znf's, however the residues holding the zinc atom(s) are variable, involving Cys, His, Asp or Glu residues. LIM domains are involved in proteins with differing functions, including gene expression, and cytoskeleton organisation and development [PMID: 1970421, PMID: 1467648]. Protein containing LIM Znf domains include:
- Caenorhabditis elegans mec-3; a protein required for the differentiation of the set of six touch receptor neurons in this nematode.
- C. elegans. lin-11; a protein required for the asymmetric division of vulval blast cells.
- Vertebrate insulin gene enhancer binding protein isl-1. Isl-1 binds to one of the two cis-acting protein-binding domains of the insulin gene.
- Vertebrate homeobox proteins lim-1, lim-2 (lim-5) and lim3.
- Vertebrate lmx-1, which acts as a transcriptional activator by binding to the FLAT element; a beta-cell-specific transcriptional enhancer found in the insulin gene.
- Mammalian LH-2, a transcriptional regulatory protein involved in the control of cell differentiation in developing lymphoid and neural cell types.
- Drosophila melanogaster (Fruit fly) protein apterous, required for the normal development of the wing and halter imaginal discs.
- Vertebrate protein kinases LIMK-1 and LIMK-2.
- Mammalian rhombotins. Rhombotin 1 (RBTN1 or TTG-1) and rhombotin-2 (RBTN2 or TTG-2) are proteins of about 160 amino acids whose genes are disrupted by chromosomal translocations in T-cell leukemia.
- Mammalian and avian cysteine-rich protein (CRP), a 192 amino-acid protein of unknown function. Seems to interact with zyxin.
- Mammalian cysteine-rich intestinal protein (CRIP), a small protein which seems to have a role in zinc absorption and may function as an intracellular zinc transport protein.
- Vertebrate paxillin, a cytoskeletal focal adhesion protein.
- Mus musculus (Mouse) testin which should not be confused with rat testin which is a thiol protease homologue (see IPR000169).
- Helianthus annuus (Common sunflower) pollen specific protein SF3.
- Chicken zyxin. Zyxin is a low-abundance adhesion plaque protein which has been shown to interact with CRP.
- Yeast protein LRG1 which is involved in sporulation [PMID: 8065929].
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Baker's yeast) rho-type GTPase activating protein RGA1/DBM1.
- C. elegans homeobox protein ceh-14.
- C. elegans homeobox protein unc-97.
- S. cerevisiae hypothetical protein YKR090w.
- C. elegans hypothetical proteins C28H8.6.
These proteins generally contain two tandem copies of the LIM domain in their N-terminal section. Zyxin and paxillin are exceptions in that they contain respectively three and four LIM domains at their C-terminal extremity. In apterous, isl-1, LH-2, lin-11, lim-1 to lim-3, lmx-1 and ceh-14 and mec-3 there is a homeobox domain some 50 to 95 amino acids after the LIM domains.
LIM domains contain seven conserved cysteine residues and a histidine. The arrangement followed by these conserved residues is:
LIM domains bind two zinc ions [PMID: 8506279]. LIM does not bind DNA, rather it seems to act as an interface for protein-protein interaction.