Role of Linkers between Zinc Fingers in Spacing Recognition by Plant TFIIIA-Type Zinc-Finger Proteins
ZPT2-2 is a DNA-binding protein of petunia that contains two canonical TFIIIA-type zinc finger motifs separated by a long linker. We previously reported that ZPT2-2 bound to two separate AGT core sites, with each zinc finger making contact with each core site. Here we present our further characterization of ZPT2-2 by using selected and amplified binding sequence imprinting and surface plasmon resonance analyses; together, these assays revealed some unusual features of the interaction between ZPT2-2 and DNA. These experiments allowed us to conclude that 1) the optimal binding sequence for the N-terminal zinc finger is AGC(T), and that of the C-terminal one is CAGT; 2) multiple arrangements of the two core sites accommodate binding; and 3) the spacing between the two core sites affects the binding affinity. In light of these observations, we propose a new model for the DNA-ZPT2-2 interaction. Further, consistent with this model, a high affinity binding site for ZPT2-2 was found in the promoter region of the ZPT2-2 gene. This site may serve as a cis-element for the autoregulation of ZPT2-2 gene expression.