Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.397, No.3, 386-390, 2010
Structure of mitochondrial transcription termination factor 3 reveals a novel nucleic acid-binding domain
In mammalian cells, a family of mitochondrial transcription termination factors (MTERFs) regulates mitochondrial gene expression. MTERF family members share a similar to 270 residues long MTERF-domain required for DNA binding and transcription regulation. However, the structure of this widely conserved domain is unknown. Here, we show that the MTERF-domain of human MTERF3 forms a half-doughnut-shaped right-handed superhelix. The superhelix is built from alpha-helical tandem repeats that display a novel triangular three-helix motif. This repeat motif, which we denote the MTERF-motif, is a conserved structural element present in proteins from metazoans, plants, and protozoans. Furthermore, a narrow, strongly positively charged nucleic acid-binding path is found in the middle of the concave side of the half-doughnut. This arrangement suggests a half clamp nucleic acid-binding mode for MTERF-domains. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.