Infoscience

Journal article

KRAB zinc finger proteins

Kruppel-associated box domain zinc finger proteins (KRAB-ZFPs) are the largest family of transcriptional regulators in higher vertebrates. Characterized by an N-terminal KRAB domain and a C-terminal array of DNA-binding zinc fingers, they participate, together with their co-factor KAP1 (also known as TRIM28), in repression of sequences derived from transposable elements (TEs). Until recently, KRAB-ZFP/KAP1-mediated repression of TEs was thought to lead to irreversible silencing, and the evolutionary selection of KRAB-ZFPs was considered to be just the host component of an arms race against TEs. However, recent advances indicate that KRAB-ZFPs and their TE targets also partner up to establish species-specific regulatory networks. Here, we provide an overview of the KRAB-ZFP gene family, highlighting how its evolutionary history is linked to that of TEs, and how KRAB-ZFPs influence multiple aspects of development and physiology.

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