Engineering specificity changes on a RanBP2 zinc finger that binds single-stranded RNA

Marylène Vandevenne, Mitchell R. O'Connell, Stephanie Helder, Nicholas E. Shepherd, Jacqueline M. Matthews, Ann H. Kwan, David Segal, Joel P. Mackay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The realization that gene transcription is much more pervasive than previously thought and that many diverse RNA species exist in simple as well as complex organisms has triggered efforts to develop functionalized RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that have the ability to probe and manipulate RNA function. Previously, we showed that the RanBP2-type zinc finger (ZF) domain is a good candidate for an addressable single-stranded-RNA (ssRNA) binding domain that can recognize ssRNA in a modular and specific manner. In the present study, we successfully engineered a sequence specificity change onto this ZF scaffold by using a combinatorial approach based on phage display. This work constitutes a foundation from which a set of RanBP2 ZFs might be developed that is able to recognize any given RNA sequence. Variation on a theme: A combinatorial library of RanBP2-type zinc finger (ZF) domains has been engineered in an effort to select variants with distinct RNA-binding preferences. One variant was shown to successfully discriminate the sequence GCC over GGU and AAA, but only in the context of a three-ZF polypeptide. This study provides proof of principle that the specificity of RNA-binding modules based on ZF domains can be successfully altered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7848-7852
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number30
StatePublished - Jul 21 2014


  • combinatorial chemistry
  • phage display
  • protein design
  • RNA binding
  • zinc fingers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Catalysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Engineering specificity changes on a RanBP2 zinc finger that binds single-stranded RNA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this