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J Biol Chem 1988 Dec 15;26335:19066-70.
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Yolk proteins from nematodes, chickens, and frogs bind strongly and preferentially to left-handed Z-DNA.

Krishna P , Kennedy BP , van de Sande JH , McGhee JD .

Yolk proteins purified from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, from the frog Xenopus laevis, and from chicken eggs all have the unexpected property of binding strongly and preferentially to a left-handed Z-DNA probe, brominated poly(dG-dC). We estimate that the nematode proteins bind to Z-DNA with an association constant of at least 10(4) (M-1) and that this association constant is at least 40-50-fold higher than the association constant to B-DNA. Thus, yolk proteins have a higher Z-DNA specificity than most of the Z-DNA binding proteins previously isolated from other sources. Although yolk protein binding to Z-DNA is poorly competed by a wide variety of nucleic acids, the interaction is strongly competed by the phospholipids cardiolipin and phosphatidic acid (500-1000-fold better than by the same mass of B-DNA). We suggest that Z-DNA interacts with the yolk protein phospholipid binding site. In general, our results emphasize the danger of using physical properties to infer biological function. In particular, our results should raise serious questions about the biological relevance of previously isolated Z-DNA binding proteins.

PubMed ID: 3198611
Article link: J Biol Chem