Summary: Helix-loop-helix DNA-binding domain
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Basic helix-loop-helix Edit Wikipedia article
|basic helix-loop-helix DNA-binding domain|
|SCOPe||1mdy / SUPFAM|
bHLH transcription factors are often important in development or cell activity. BMAL1-Clock is a core transcription complex in the molecular circadian clock. Other genes, like c-Myc and HIF-1, have been linked to cancer due to their effects on cell growth and metabolism.
It should not be confused with the helix-turn-helix domain.
The motif is characterized by two Î±-helices connected by a loop. In general, transcription factors including this domain are dimeric, each with one helix containing basic amino acid residues that facilitate DNA binding. In general, one helix is smaller, and, due to the flexibility of the loop, allows dimerization by folding and packing against another helix. The larger helix typically contains the DNA-binding regions. bHLH proteins typically bind to a consensus sequence called an E-box, CANNTG. The canonical E-box is CACGTG (palindromic), however some bHLH transcription factors, notably those of the bHLH-PAS family, bind to related non-palindromic sequences, which are similar to the E-box. bHLH TFs may homodimerize or heterodimerize with other bHLH TFs and form a large variety of dimers, each one with specific functions.
A phylogenetic analysis suggested that bHLH proteins fall into 6 major groups, indicated by letters A through F.  Examples of transcription factors containing a bHLH include:
- Scl, also known as Tal1
- proneural bHLH genes like p-CaMKII, and pSer(336)NeuroD.
These proteins contain two additional PAS domains after the bHLH domain.
These proteins contain an additional COE domain
Since many bHLH transcription factors are heterodimeric, their activity is often highly regulated by the dimerization of the subunits. One subunit's expression or availability is often controlled, whereas the other subunit is constitutively expressed. Many of the known regulatory proteins, such as the Drosophila extramacrochaetae protein, have the helix-loop-helix structure but lack the basic region, making them unable to bind to DNA on their own. They are, however, able to form heterodimers with proteins that have the bHLH structure, and inactivate their abilities as transcription factors.
- 1989: Murre et al. showed that dimers of various bHLH proteins bind to a short DNA motif (later called E-Box). This E-box consists of the DNA sequence CANNTG, where N can be any nucleotide.
- 1994: Harrison's and Pabo's groups crystallize bHLH proteins bound to E-boxes, demonstrating that the parallel 4-helix bundle motif loop orients the basic sequences to interact with specific nucleotides in the major groove of the E-box.
- 1994: Wharton et al. identified asymmetric E-boxes bound by a subset of bHLH proteins with PAS domains (bHLH-PAS proteins), including Single-minded (Sim) and the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor.
- 1995: Semenza's group identifies hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) as a bHLH-PAS heterodimer that binds a related asymmetric E-box.
- 2009: Grove, De Masi et al., identified novel short DNA motifs, bound by a subset of bHLH proteins, which they defined as "E-box-like sequences". These are in the form of CAYRMK, where Y stands for C or T, R is A or G, M is A or C and K is G or T.
Human proteins with helix-loop-helix DNA-binding domain
AHR; AHRR; ARNT; ARNT2; ARNTL; ARNTL2; ASCL1; ASCL2; ASCL3; ASCL4; ATOH1; ATOH7; ATOH8; BHLHB2; BHLHB3; BHLHB4; BHLHB5; BHLHB8; CLOCK; EPAS1; FERD3L; FIGLA; HAND1; HAND2; HES1; HES2; HES3; HES4; HES5; HES6; HES7; HEY1; HEY2; HIF1A; ID1; ID2; ID3; ID4; KIAA2018; LYL1; MASH1; MATH2; MAX; MESP1; MESP2; MIST1; MITF; MLX; MLXIP; MLXIPL; MNT; MSC; MSGN1; MXD1; MXD3; MXD4; MXI1; MYC; MYCL1; MYCL2; MYCN; MYF5; MYF6; MYOD1; MYOG; NCOA1; NCOA3; NEUROD1; NEUROD2; NEUROD4; NEUROD6; NEUROG1; NEUROG2; NEUROG3; NHLH1; NHLH2; NPAS1; NPAS2; NPAS3; NPAS4; OAF1; OLIG1; OLIG2; OLIG3; PTF1A; SCL; SCXB; SIM1; SIM2; SOHLH1; SOHLH2; SREBF1; SREBF2; TAL1; TAL2; TCF12; TCF15; TCF21; TCF3; TCF4; TCFL5; TFAP4; TFE3; TFEB; TFEC; TWIST1; TWIST2; USF1; USF2;
- doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2005.08.043. PMID 16181639. ; Card PB, Erbel PJ, Gardner KH (October 2005). "Structural basis of ARNT PAS-B dimerization: use of a common beta-sheet interface for hetero- and homodimerization". J. Mol. Biol. 353 (3): 664â€“77.
- Murre C, Bain G, van Dijk MA, Engel I, Furnari BA, Massari ME, Matthews JR, Quong MW, Rivera RR, Stuiver MH (June 1994). "Structure and function of helix-loop-helix proteins". Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1218 (2): 129â€“35. doi:10.1016/0167-4781(94)90001-9. PMID 8018712.
- Littlewood TD, Evan GI (1995). "Transcription factors 2: helix-loop-helix". Protein Profile. 2 (6): 621â€“702. PMID 7553065.
- Massari ME, Murre C (January 2000). "Helix-loop-helix proteins: regulators of transcription in eucaryotic organisms". Mol. Cell. Biol. 20 (2): 429â€“40. doi:10.1128/MCB.20.2.429-440.2000. PMC 85097. PMID 10611221.
- Amoutzias, Grigoris D.; Robertson, David L.; Van de Peer, Yves; Oliver, Stephen G. (2008-05-01). "Choose your partners: dimerization in eukaryotic transcription factors". Trends in Biochemical Sciences. 33 (5): 220â€“229. doi:10.1016/j.tibs.2008.02.002. ISSN 0968-0004. PMID 18406148.
- Lawrence Zipursky; Arnold Berk; Monty Krieger; Darnell, James E.; Lodish, Harvey F.; Kaiser, Chris; Matthew P Scott; Matsudaira, Paul T. (2003-08-22). McGill Lodish 5E Package - Molecular Cell Biology & McGill Activation Code. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-8635-4.
- Chaudhary J, Skinner MK (1999). "Basic helix-loop-helix proteins can act at the E-box within the serum response element of the c-fos promoter to influence hormone-induced promoter activation in Sertoli cells". Mol. Endocrinol. 13 (5): 774â€“86. doi:10.1210/mend.13.5.0271. PMID 10319327.
- Amoutzias, Gregory D.; Robertson, David L.; Oliver, Stephen G.; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich (2004-03-01). "Convergent evolution of gene networks by single-gene duplications in higher eukaryotes". EMBO Reports. 5 (3): 274â€“279. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400096. ISSN 1469-221X. PMC 1299007. PMID 14968135.
- Ledent, V; Paquet, O; Vervoort, M (2002). "Phylogenetic analysis of the human basic helix-loop-helix proteins". Genome Biology. 3 (6): research0030.1. doi:10.1186/gb-2002-3-6-research0030. PMC 116727. PMID 12093377.
- Cabrera CV, Alonso MC, Huikeshoven H (1994). "Regulation of scute function by extramacrochaete in vitro and in vivo". Development. 120 (12): 3595â€“603. PMID 7821225.
- Murre C, McCaw PS, Vaessin H, et al. (1989). "Interactions between heterologous helix-loop-helix proteins generate complexes that bind specifically to a common DNA sequence". Cell. 58 (3): 537â€“44. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(89)90434-0. PMID 2503252.
- Ellenberger T, Fass D, Arnaud M, Harrison SC (April 1994). "Crystal structure of transcription factor E47: E-box recognition by a basic region helix-loop-helix dimer". Genes Dev. 8 (8): 970â€“80. doi:10.1101/gad.8.8.970. PMID 7926781.
- Ma PC, Rould MA, Weintraub H, Pabo CO (May 1994). "Crystal structure of MyoD bHLH domain-DNA complex: perspectives on DNA recognition and implications for transcriptional activation". Cell. 77 (3): 451â€“9. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(94)90159-7. PMID 8181063.
- Wharton KA, Franks RG, Kasai Y, Crews ST (December 1994). "Control of CNS midline transcription by asymmetric E-box-like elements: similarity to xenobiotic responsive regulation". Development. 120 (12): 3563â€“9. PMID 7821222.
- Wang GL, Jiang BH, Rue EA, Semenza GL (June 1995). "Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 is a basic helix-loop-helix-PAS heterodimer regulated by cellular O2 tension". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 92 (12): 5510â€“4. doi:10.1073/pnas.92.12.5510. PMC 41725. PMID 7539918.
- Grove C, De Masi F, et al. (2009). "A multiparameter network reveals extensive divergence between C. elegans bHLH transcription factors". Cell. 138 (2): 314â€“27. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.04.058. PMC 2774807. PMID 19632181.
This tab holds the annotation information that is stored in the Pfam database. As we move to using Wikipedia as our main source of annotation, the contents of this tab will be gradually replaced by the Wikipedia tab.
Helix-loop-helix DNA-binding domain Provide feedback
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Internal database links
|SCOOP:||AAA_23 APG6_N CCDC106 Cluap1 COE1_HLH Crescentin HAUS-augmin3 LRRFIP NRBF2 PI3K_P85_iSH2 Spc29 SUIM_assoc TFIIA YL1|
External database links
This tab holds annotation information from the InterPro database.
InterPro entry IPR011598
A number of eukaryotic proteins, which probably are sequence specific DNA- binding proteins that act as transcription factors, share a conserved domain of 40 to 50 amino acid residues. It has been proposed [PUBMED:2493990] that this domain is formed of two amphipathic helices joined by a variable length linker region that could form a loop. This 'helix-loop-helix' (HLH) domain mediates protein dimerization and has been found in the proteins listed below [PUBMED:1521738]. Most of these proteins have an extra basic region of about 15 amino acid residues that is adjacent to the HLH domain and specifically binds to DNA. They are refered as basic helix-loop-helix proteins (bHLH), and are classified in two groups: class A (ubiquitous) and class B (tissue-specific). Members of the bHLH family bind variations on the core sequence 'CANNTG', also refered to as the E-box motif. The homo- or heterodimerization mediated by the HLH domain is independent of, but necessary for DNA binding, as two basic regions are required for DNA binding activity. The HLH proteins lacking the basic domain (Emc, Id) function as negative regulators, since they form heterodimers, but fail to bind DNA. The hairy-related proteins (hairy, E(spl), deadpan) also repress transcription although they can bind DNA. The proteins of this subfamily act together with co-repressor proteins, like groucho, through their C-terminal motif WRPW.
Proteins containing a HLH domain include:
- The myc family of cellular oncogenes [PUBMED:2175254], which is currently known to contain four members: c-myc, N-myc, L-myc, and B-myc. The myc genes are thought to play a role in cellular differentiation and proliferation.
- Proteins involved in myogenesis (the induction of muscle cells). In mammals MyoD1 (Myf-3), myogenin (Myf-4), Myf-5, and Myf-6 (Mrf4 or herculin), in birds CMD1 (QMF-1), in Xenopus MyoD and MF25, in Caenorhabditis elegans CeMyoD, and in Drosophila nautilus (nau).
- Vertebrate proteins that bind specific DNA sequences ('E boxes') in various immunoglobulin chains enhancers: E2A or ITF-1 (E12/pan-2 and E47/pan-1), ITF-2 (tcf4), TFE3, and TFEB.
- Vertebrate neurogenic differentiation factor 1 that acts as differentiation factor during neurogenesis.
- Vertebrate MAX protein, a transcription regulator that forms a sequence- specific DNA-binding protein complex with myc or mad.
- Vertebrate Max Interacting Protein 1 (MXI1 protein) which acts as a transcriptional repressor and may antagonize myc transcriptional activity by competing for max.
- Proteins of the bHLH/PAS superfamily which are transcriptional activators. In mammals, AH receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT), single-minded homologues (SIM1 and SIM2), hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF1A), AH receptor (AHR), neuronal pas domain proteins (NPAS1 and NPAS2), endothelial pas domain protein 1 (EPAS1), mouse ARNT2, and human BMAL1. In Drosophila, single-minded (SIM), AH receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT), trachealess protein (TRH), and similar protein (SIMA).
- Mammalian transcription factors HES, which repress transcription by acting on two types of DNA sequences, the E box and the N box.
- Mammalian MAD protein (max dimerizer) which acts as transcriptional repressor and may antagonize myc transcriptional activity by competing for max.
- Mammalian Upstream Stimulatory Factor 1 and 2 (USF1 and USF2), which bind to a symmetrical DNA sequence that is found in a variety of viral and cellular promoters.
- Human lyl-1 protein; which is involved, by chromosomal translocation, in T- cell leukemia.
- Human transcription factor AP-4.
- Mouse helix-loop-helix proteins MATH-1 and MATH-2 which activate E box- dependent transcription in collaboration with E47.
- Mammalian stem cell protein (SCL) (also known as tal1), a protein which may play an important role in hemopoietic differentiation. SCL is involved, by chromosomal translocation, in stem-cell leukemia.
- Mammalian proteins Id1 to Id4 [PUBMED:8139914]. Id (inhibitor of DNA binding) proteins lack a basic DNA-binding domain but are able to form heterodimers with other HLH proteins, thereby inhibiting binding to DNA.
- Drosophila extra-macrochaetae (emc) protein, which participates in sensory organ patterning by antagonizing the neurogenic activity of the achaete- scute complex. Emc is the homologue of mammalian Id proteins.
- Human Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 (SREBP-1), a transcriptional activator that binds to the sterol regulatory element 1 (SRE-1) found in the flanking region of the LDLR gene and in other genes.
- Drosophila achaete-scute (AS-C) complex proteins T3 (l'sc), T4 (scute), T5 (achaete) and T8 (asense). The AS-C proteins are involved in the determination of the neuronal precursors in the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system.
- Mammalian homologues of achaete-scute proteins, the MASH-1 and MASH-2 proteins.
- Drosophila atonal protein (ato) which is involved in neurogenesis.
The mapping between Pfam and Gene Ontology is provided by InterPro. If you use this data please cite InterPro.
|Molecular function||protein dimerization activity (GO:0046983)|
Below is a listing of the unique domain organisations or architectures in which this domain is found. More...
The graphic that is shown by default represents the longest sequence with a given architecture. Each row contains the following information:
- the number of sequences which exhibit this architecture
a textual description of the architecture, e.g. Gla, EGF x 2, Trypsin.
This example describes an architecture with one
Gladomain, followed by two consecutive
EGFdomains, and finally a single
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Note that you can see the family page for a particular domain by clicking on the graphic. You can also choose to see all sequences which have a given architecture by clicking on the Show link in each row.
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We store a range of different sequence alignments for families. As well as the seed alignment from which the family is built, we provide the full alignment, generated by searching the sequence database (reference proteomes) using the family HMM. We also generate alignments using four representative proteomes (RP) sets, the UniProtKB sequence database, the NCBI sequence database, and our metagenomics sequence database. More...
There are various ways to view or download the sequence alignments that we store. We provide several sequence viewers and a plain-text Stockholm-format file for download.
We make a range of alignments for each Pfam-A family:
- the curated alignment from which the HMM for the family is built
- the alignment generated by searching the sequence database using the HMM
- Representative Proteomes (RPs) at 15%, 35%, 55% and 75% co-membership thresholds
- alignment generated by searching the UniProtKB sequence database using the family HMM
- alignment generated by searching the NCBI sequence database using the family HMM
- alignment generated by searching the metagenomics sequence database using the family HMM
You can see the alignments as HTML or in three different sequence viewers:
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You can download (or view in your browser) a text representation of a Pfam alignment in various formats:
You can also change the order in which sequences are listed in the alignment, change how insertions are represented, alter the characters that are used to represent gaps in sequences and, finally, choose whether to download the alignment or to view it in your browser directly.
You may find that large alignments cause problems for the viewers and the reformatting tool, so we also provide all alignments in Stockholm format. You can download either the plain text alignment, or a gzipped version of it.
We make a range of alignments for each Pfam-A family. You can see a description of each above. You can view these alignments in various ways but please note that some types of alignment are never generated while others may not be available for all families, most commonly because the alignments are too large to handle.
1Cannot generate PP/Heatmap alignments for seeds; no PP data available
Key: available, not generated, — not available.
Format an alignment
We make all of our alignments available in Stockholm format. You can download them here as raw, plain text files or as gzip-compressed files.
You can also download a FASTA format file containing the full-length sequences for all sequences in the full alignment.
HMM logos is one way of visualising profile HMMs. Logos provide a quick overview of the properties of an HMM in a graphical form. You can see a more detailed description of HMM logos and find out how you can interpret them here. More...
If you find these logos useful in your own work, please consider citing the following article:
This page displays the phylogenetic tree for this family's seed alignment. We use FastTree to calculate neighbour join trees with a local bootstrap based on 100 resamples (shown next to the tree nodes). FastTree calculates approximately-maximum-likelihood phylogenetic trees from our seed alignment.
Note: You can also download the data file for the tree.
Curation and family details
This section shows the detailed information about the Pfam family. You can see the definitions of many of the terms in this section in the glossary and a fuller explanation of the scoring system that we use in the scores section of the help pages.
|Number in seed:||146|
|Number in full:||54499|
|Average length of the domain:||53.70 aa|
|Average identity of full alignment:||29 %|
|Average coverage of the sequence by the domain:||13.42 %|
|HMM build commands:||
build method: hmmbuild -o /dev/null HMM SEED
search method: hmmsearch -Z 47079205 -E 1000 --cpu 4 HMM pfamseq
|Family (HMM) version:||27|
|Download:||download the raw HMM for this family|
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This visualisation provides a simple graphical representation of the distribution of this family across species. You can find the original interactive tree in the More....
This chart is a modified "sunburst" visualisation of the species tree for this family. It shows each node in the tree as a separate arc, arranged radially with the superkingdoms at the centre and the species arrayed around the outermost ring.
How the sunburst is generated
The tree is built by considering the taxonomic lineage of each sequence that has a match to this family. For each node in the resulting tree, we draw an arc in the sunburst. The radius of the arc, its distance from the root node at the centre of the sunburst, shows the taxonomic level ("superkingdom", "kingdom", etc). The length of the arc represents either the number of sequences represented at a given level, or the number of species that are found beneath the node in the tree. The weighting scheme can be changed using the sunburst controls.
In order to reduce the complexity of the representation, we reduce the number of taxonomic levels that we show. We consider only the following eight major taxonomic levels:
Colouring and labels
Segments of the tree are coloured approximately according to their superkingdom. For example, archeal branches are coloured with shades of orange, eukaryotes in shades of purple, etc. The colour assignments are shown under the sunburst controls. Where space allows, the name of the taxonomic level will be written on the arc itself.
As you move your mouse across the sunburst, the current node will be highlighted. In the top section of the controls panel we show a summary of the lineage of the currently highlighed node. If you pause over an arc, a tooltip will be shown, giving the name of the taxonomic level in the title and a summary of the number of sequences and species below that node in the tree.
Anomalies in the taxonomy tree
There are some situations that the sunburst tree cannot easily handle and for which we have work-arounds in place.
Missing taxonomic levels
Some species in the taxonomic tree may not have one or more of the main eight levels that we display. For example, Bos taurus is not assigned an order in the NCBI taxonomic tree. In such cases we mark the omitted level with, for example, "No order", in both the tooltip and the lineage summary.
Unmapped species names
The tree is built by looking at each sequence in the full alignment for the family. We take the name of the species given by UniProt and try to map that to the full taxonomic tree from NCBI. In some cases, the name chosen by UniProt does not map to any node in the NCBI tree, perhaps because the chosen name is listed as a synonym or a misspelling in the NCBI taxonomy.
So that these nodes are not simply omitted from the sunburst tree, we group them together in a separate branch (or segment of the sunburst tree). Since we cannot determine the lineage for these unmapped species, we show all levels between the superkingdom and the species as "uncategorised".
Since we reduce the species tree to only the eight main taxonomic levels, sequences that are mapped to the sub-species level in the tree would not normally be shown. Rather than leave out these species, we map them instead to their parent species. So, for example, for sequences belonging to one of the Vibrio cholerae sub-species in the NCBI taxonomy, we show them instead as belonging to the species Vibrio cholerae.
Too many species/sequences
For large species trees, you may see blank regions in the outer layers of the sunburst. These occur when there are large numbers of arcs to be drawn in a small space. If an arc is less than approximately one pixel wide, it will not be drawn and the space will be left blank. You may still be able to get some information about the species in that region by moving your mouse across the area, but since each arc will be very small, it will be difficult to accurately locate a particular species.
The tree shows the occurrence of this domain across different species. More...
We show the species tree in one of two ways. For smaller trees we try to show an interactive representation, which allows you to select specific nodes in the tree and view them as an alignment or as a set of Pfam domain graphics.
Unfortunately we have found that there are problems viewing the interactive tree when the it becomes larger than a certain limit. Furthermore, we have found that Internet Explorer can become unresponsive when viewing some trees, regardless of their size. We therefore show a text representation of the species tree when the size is above a certain limit or if you are using Internet Explorer to view the site.
If you are using IE you can still load the interactive tree by clicking the "Generate interactive tree" button, but please be aware of the potential problems that the interactive species tree can cause.
For all of the domain matches in a full alignment, we count the number that are found on all sequences in the alignment. This total is shown in the purple box.
We also count the number of unique sequences on which each domain is found, which is shown in green. Note that a domain may appear multiple times on the same sequence, leading to the difference between these two numbers.
Finally, we group sequences from the same organism according to the NCBI code that is assigned by UniProt, allowing us to count the number of distinct sequences on which the domain is found. This value is shown in the pink boxes.
We use the NCBI species tree to group organisms according to their taxonomy and this forms the structure of the displayed tree. Note that in some cases the trees are too large (have too many nodes) to allow us to build an interactive tree, but in most cases you can still view the tree in a plain text, non-interactive representation. Those species which are represented in the seed alignment for this domain are highlighted.
You can use the tree controls to manipulate how the interactive tree is displayed:
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There are 7 interactions for this family. More...
We determine these interactions using iPfam, which considers the interactions between residues in three-dimensional protein structures and maps those interactions back to Pfam families. You can find more information about the iPfam algorithm in the journal article that accompanies the website.
For those sequences which have a structure in the Protein DataBank, we use the mapping between UniProt, PDB and Pfam coordinate systems from the PDBe group, to allow us to map Pfam domains onto UniProt sequences and three-dimensional protein structures. The table below shows the structures on which the HLH domain has been found. There are 141 instances of this domain found in the PDB. Note that there may be multiple copies of the domain in a single PDB structure, since many structures contain multiple copies of the same protein sequence.
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