'Zinc Fingers' That Flip The Genetic Switch | February 19, 2007 Issue - Vol. 85 Issue 8 | Chemical & Engineering News
 
 
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Volume 85 Issue 8 | Web Exclusive
Issue Date: February 19, 2007

'Zinc Fingers' That Flip The Genetic Switch

Department: Science & Technology

"Zinc fingers" are an exciting protein engineering strategy for activating gene expression. These small proteins have a simple fold—a β-hairpin that nestles against one α-helix—and can recognize a sequence of three DNA bases with excellent specificity. They are called zinc fingers because they require a coordinated zinc ion to fold properly.

DNA base-pair recognition by these proteins occurs by means of six amino acids that span the beginning of the α-helix. A nearly complete palate . . .

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