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The winged helix domain (WHD) is a widespread nucleic-acid-binding protein structural element found in all kingdoms of life. Although the overall structure of the WHD is conserved, its functional properties and interaction profiles are extremely versatile. WHD-containing proteins can exploit nearly the full spectrum of nucleic acid structural features for recognition and even covalent modification or noncovalent rearrangement of target molecules. WHD functions range from sequence-recognizing keys in transcription factors and bulldozer-like strand-separating wedges in helicases to mediators of protein-protein interactions (PPIs). Further investigations are needed to understand the contribution of WHD structural dynamics to nucleic-acid-modifying enzymatic functions. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Gábor M Harami, Máté Gyimesi, Mihály Kovács. From keys to bulldozers: expanding roles for winged helix domains in nucleic-acid-binding proteins. Trends in biochemical sciences. 2013 Jul;38(7):364-71

PMID: 23768997

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