Differential zinc and DNA binding by partial peptides of human protamine HP2

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The Zn(II) binding by partial peptides of human protamine IIP2: HP2]5;HP2:_25, HP220, HP237-07 and HP243_57was studied by circular dichroism (CD). Precipitation of a 20-mer DNA by these partial peptides and the effects of Zn(II) thereon were investigated using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (GE). The results of this study suggest that reduced HP2 (thiol groups intact) can bind Zn(II) at various parts of the molecule. In the absence of DNA, the primary Zn(II) binding site in reduced HP2 is located in the 37-47 sequence (involving Cys-37, His-39, His-43, and Cys-47), while in the presence of DNA, the strongest Zn(II) binding is provided by sequences 12-22 (by His-12, Cys-13, His-19, and His-22) and 43-57 (His-43, Cys-47, Cys-53, and His-57). In its oxidized form, HP2 can bind zinc through His residues of the 7-22 sequence. Zn(II) markedly enhances DNA binding by all partial peptides. These findings suggest that Zn(II) ions may be a regulatory factor for sperm chromatin condensation processes. (Mol Cell Biochem 222: 97-106, 2001)