Center for Infectious Disease and Vector Research

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IIGB Seminar Speaker - Dr. Timothy Hughes

Friday, March 11, 2016
Noon1 p.m.


Genomics Building
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Dear Faculty, Postdocs, Students, and Friends:

You are cordially invited to attend a special seminar  presented by the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology




Dr. Timothy Hughes

University of Toronto  



“Kaleidoscopic evolution of C2H2 zinc finger proteins”

DATE: Friday, March 11, 2016

 LOCATION: Genomics Auditorium, RM 1102A

Time: 12:10 Pm


Host: Dr. Ted Karginov



The C2H2 zinc finger (C2H2-ZF) is found in across the eukaryotes, and is the most numerous protein domain in many metazoans, representing nearly half of all putative human transcription factors. Most C2H2 proteins, however, are largely unstudied in terms of both function and biochemistry, and it is unclear whether they even bind DNA and regulate transcription. I will present evidence that most extant C2H2 proteins bind DNA.  Moreover, rapid diversification of binding motifs in metazoans is facilitated by contribution of non-DNA-contacting residues to binding affinity, which enables virtually unlimited combinations of DNA contacting residues, and continuous “kaleidoscopic” evolution of binding sites over relatively short evolutionary timescales. We observe widespread binding of C2H2 proteins to endogenous retroelements, providing a mechanism driving expansion and diversification. Surprisingly, we also find that the spectrum of C2H2 protein-protein interactions in living cells is nearly as diverse as the C2H2 DNA binding sites, suggesting that diversification involves multiple molecular mechanisms.


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General Public




Institute for Integrative Genome Biology

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