Zinc finger, DPH-type (IPR007872)

Short name: Znf_DHP

Overlapping homologous superfamilies

Domain relationships



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 a probable zinc binding motif that contains four cysteines and may chelate zinc, known as the DPH-type after the diphthamide (DPH) biosynthesis protein in which it was first characterised, including the proteins DPH3 and DPH4. This domain is also found associated with N-terminal domain of heat shock protein DnaJ IPR001623 domain.

Diphthamide is a unique post-translationally modified histidine residue found only in translation elongation factor 2 (eEF-2). It is conserved from archaea to humans and serves as the target for diphteria toxin and Pseudomonas exotoxin A. These two toxins catalyse the transfer of ADP-ribose to diphtamide on eEF-2, thus inactivating eEF-2, halting cellular protein synthesis, and causing cell death [PMID: 11595641]. The biosynthesis of diphtamide is dependent on at least five proteins, DPH1 to -5, and a still unidentified amidating enzyme. DPH3 and DPH4 share a conserved region, which encode a putative zinc finger, the DPH-type or CSL-type (after the conserved motif of the final cysteine) zinc finger [PMID: 14527407, PMID: 15485916]. The function of this motif is unknown.

Contributing signatures

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