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Mol Cell Biol. 1996 November; 16(11): 6096–6102.
PMCID: PMC231612

A novel DNA binding motif for yeast zinc cluster proteins: the Leu3p and Pdr3p transcriptional activators recognize everted repeats.


The Gal4, Put3, and Ppr1 yeast zinc cluster proteins bind as homodimers to DNA sequences composed of palindromic CGG triplets. Spacing between the triplets specifies the target site for a given zinc cluster protein. In addition, Hap1p, another zinc cluster protein, also recognizes CGG triplets but only when oriented as a direct repeat. Unexpectedly, our results show that Leu3p, another member of this family, also recognizes CGG triplets but oriented in opposite directions and spaced by 4 nucleotides (an everted repeat or inverted palindrome: CCG-N4-CGG). This constitutes a novel DNA motif for zinc cluster proteins. Moreover, the presence of this motif was shown to be essential for in vivo activation by Leu3p of a minimal reporter containing one copy of a target site for this activator. We also provide evidence that another member of this family, Pdr3p, binds to an everted repeat spaced by 0 nucleotides (CCGCGG). Thus, our results show that three CGG motifs are used by members of the zinc cluster family: palindromes, direct repeats, and everted repeats.

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