Skip to content


  • Research news
  • Open Access

Let your fingers do the walking

Genome Biology20034:spotlight-20030218-01

  • Published:


  • Transcription Factor
  • Designer Factor
  • Zinc Finger
  • Binding Activity
  • Genomic Locus

Transcription factors are often modular in nature, containing sequence-specific DNA-binding domains and transactivation domains. In an Advanced Online Publication in Nature Biotechnology Kwang-Hee Bae and colleagues at ToolGen Inc in South Korea, report the generation of "designer transcription factors" with specific binding activities (Nature Biotechnology, 18 February 2003, doi:10.1038/nbt796). A modified one-hybrid screen in yeast selected zinc-finger motifs with specific DNA-binding properties. The system was used to screen a library of over 2,000 factors that were derived from the Zif268 transcription factor and contained variant zinc-finger sequences isolated from the human genome; 56 zinc fingers with distinct DNA-binding specificities were isolated. Bae et al. shuffled the selected zinc-finger domains and tested them as transcription factors. They found that the 'natural' human zinc-finger domains function better than 'artificial' engineered zinc fingers. The designer factors could also regulate expression of a chosen endogenous genomic locus.


  1. Nature Biotechnology, []
  2. ToolGen Inc. , []
  3. Zinc finger proteins as designer transcription factors.Google Scholar
  4. Selection of peptides that functionally replace a zinc finger in the Sp1 transcription factor by using a yeast combinatorial library.Google Scholar


© BioMed Central Ltd 2003