A chemically synthesized Antennapedia homeo domain binds to a specific DNA sequence

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Science  11 Nov 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4880, pp. 925-927
DOI: 10.1126/science.2903553


A peptide 60 residues in length that corresponds to the homeo domain of Antennapedia (Antp), a protein governing development in Drosophila, was synthesized by segment condensation with protected peptide segments prepared on an oxime resin. A footprinting assay showed that the homeo domain binds specifically to a TAA repeat DNA sequence in the Antp gene. Thus the Antp homeo domain has a sequence-specific DNA binding property. The circular dichroism spectra of the homeo domain peptide showed the presence of a significant amount of alpha-helical structure in aqueous solution and in 50 percent trifluoroethanol. The alpha helicity measured in water appears to depend on the peptide concentration, which suggests that the peptide aggregates. These results support the hypothesis that the homeo domain binds to DNA through a helix-turn-helix motif.