Zfp206 (also named as Zscan10) belongs to the subfamily of C2H2 zinc finger transcription factors, which is characterized by the N-terminal SCAN domain. The SCAN domain mediates self-association and association between the members of SCAN family transcription factors, but the structural basis and selectivity determinants for complex formation is unknown. Zfp206 is important for maintaining the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells presumably by combinatorial assembly of itself or other SCAN family members on enhancer regions. To gain insights into the folding topology and selectivity determinants for SCAN dimerization, we solved the 1.85Å crystal structure of the SCAN domain of Zfp206. In vitro binding studies using a panel of 20 SCAN proteins indicate that the SCAN domain Zfp206 can selectively associate with other members of SCAN family transcription factors. Deletion mutations showed that the N-terminal helix 1 is critical for heterodimerization. Double mutations and multiple mutations based on the Zfp206SCAN-Zfp110SCAN model suggested that domain swapped topology is a possible preference for Zfp206SCAN-Zfp110SCAN heterodimer. Together, we demonstrate that the Zfp206SCAN constitutes a protein module that enables C2H2 transcription factor dimerization in a highly selective manner using a domain-swapped interface architecture and identify novel partners for Zfp206 during embryonal development.
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