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What is the PDZ Domain?

           The PDZ domain is a conserved domain found in numerous different species. The name PDZ is an acronym, created from the names of the first three proteins (PSD95, DigA, and zo-1) found to have the domain. The header above contains PDB images of each of the three proteins with their corresponding letter of the acronym.


Figure 1: An assortment of proteins that contain the PDZ domain.


           In general the PDZ domains bind to short regions found on the c-terminal ends of other proteins. Cowburn found that this binding occurs through beta sheet augmentation, meaning that a beta sheet of the other protein adds onto the beta sheet of the PDZ domain.



Why Is This Article Important?

           The PDZ domain can be found in multiple different species, in proteins with incredibly different functions, and even, as can be seen in Figure 1, multiple times within one protein. Traditionally all these PDZ domains have been divided into three functional categories, Class I, Class II, and Class III. However, recently research has indicated that just three classes is not enough so MacBeath et al. set out to create a new model for PDZ domain selectivity. Their general concept was to use sample sets of both PDZ domains and the interacting proteins to formulate an algorithm that is able to predict binding.

Figure 2: An assortment of proteins that contain the PDZ domain.




Genomics            Davidson College

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