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The band 4.1 domain was first identified in the red blood cell protein band 4.1, and subsequently in ezrin, radixin, and moesin (ERM proteins) and other proteins, including tumor suppressor merlin/schwannomin, talin, unconventional myosins VIIa and X, and protein tyrosine phosphatases. Recently, the presence of a structurally related domain has been demonstrated in the N-terminal region of two groups of tyrosine kinases: the focal adhesion kinases (FAK) and the Janus kinases (JAK). Additional proteins containing the 4.1/JEF (JAK, ERM, FAK) domain include plant kinesin-like calmodulin-binding proteins (KCBP) and a number of uncharacterized open reading frames identified by systematic DNA sequencing. Phylogenetic analysis of amino acid sequences suggests that band 4.1/JEF domains can be grouped in several families that have probably diverged early during evolution. Hydrophobic cluster analysis indicates that the band 4.1/JEF domains might consist of a duplicated module of approximately 140 residues and a central hinge region. A conserved property of the domain is its capacity to bind to the membrane-proximal region of the C-terminal cytoplasmic tail of proteins with a single transmembrane segment. Many proteins with band 4.1/JEF domains undergo regulated intra- or intermolecular homotypic interactions. Additional properties common to band 4.1/JEF domains of several proteins are binding of phosphoinositides and regulation by GTPases of the Rho family. Many proteins with band 4. 1/JEF domains are associated with the actin-based cytoskeleton and are enriched at points of contact with other cells or the extracellular matrix, from which they can exert control over cell growth. Thus, proteins with band 4.1/JEF domain are at the crossroads between cytoskeletal organization and signal transduction in multicellular organisms. Their importance is underlined by the variety of diseases that can result from their mutations.