The Molecules of HIV

Note: this site last updated in 2006

zinc finger

An article from "The Molecules of HIV" (c) Dan Stowell

A zinc finger is a structure that can occur in proteins (particularly ones which bind to DNA or RNA). A string of amino acids folded back on itself forms a "finger-shaped" bit of protein. At the base of the "finger" are two cystine and two histidine amino acids, which bind with a single zinc ion to hold the structure together.

Zinc fingers occur in various proteins in nature. They're also particularly interesting to scientists because they can be used to recognise a particular short sequence of DNA code.

Written by
Dan Stowell

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