A homology model of the Id-3 helix-loop-helix domain as a basis for structure-function predictions

Jane Wibley, Richard Deed, Michelle Jasiok, Kenneth Douglas, John Norton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The function of the dominant negative Id (inhibitor of differentiation) helix-loop-helix (HLH) proteins is to dimerize with, and prevent the DNA binding of basic HLH (bHLH) transcription factors. A three-dimensional homology model was constructed for the HLH domain of human Id3 based on the X-ray crystal structures of the E47, MyoD, and Max bHLH proteins. The model showed that, in contrast to bHLH proteins, Id proteins appear able to dimerize without DNA stabilization because of better packing of the hydrophobic core, and the absence of destabilizing polar loop residues and of repulsive positive charges in the monomer interface at the base of the four α-helix bundle. This prediction was tested by in vitro protein-binding experiments, which showed that Id3 did indeed self-associate. It also showed that the inability of Id proteins to bind DNA arises from the non-basic, poorly defined, random coil structure of the region corresponding to that responsible for bHLH DNA-binding. A model of the Id1 protein was constructed and revealed a potential site of chaarge-charge repulsion in the hypothetical homodimer interface that may explain its observed inability to form homodimers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)138-146
    Number of pages8
    JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Protein Structure and Molecular Enzymology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 23 May 1996


    • Differentiation protein
    • Dimerization
    • Helix-loop-helix
    • Inhibitor
    • Molecular modelling
    • Transcription factor


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