Cold-shock domains - abundance, structure, properties, and nucleic-acid binding


  • U. Heinemann
  • Y. Roske


  • Cancers


  • Cancers 13 (2): 190


  • The cold-shock domain has a deceptively simple architecture but supports a complex biology. It is conserved from bacteria to man and has representatives in all kingdoms of life. Bacterial cold-shock proteins consist of a single cold-shock domain and some, but not all are induced by cold shock. Cold-shock domains in human proteins are often associated with natively unfolded protein segments and more rarely with other folded domains. Cold-shock proteins and domains share a five-stranded all-antiparallel β-barrel structure and a conserved surface that binds single-stranded nucleic acids, predominantly by stacking interactions between nucleobases and aromatic protein sidechains. This conserved binding mode explains the cold-shock domains' ability to associate with both DNA and RNA strands and their limited sequence selectivity. The promiscuous DNA and RNA binding provides a rationale for the ability of cold-shock domain-containing proteins to function in transcription regulation and DNA-damage repair as well as in regulating splicing, translation, mRNA stability and RNA sequestration.