Insulin gene enhancer binding protein Isl-1 is a member of a novel class of proteins containing both a homeo- and a Cys-His domain

Nature. 1990 Apr 26;344(6269):879-82. doi: 10.1038/344879a0.


The activity of the rat insulin I gene enhancer is mainly dependent on two cis-acting protein-binding domains. Here we report the isolation of a complementary DNA encoding a protein, Isl-1, that binds to one of these domains. Isl-1 contains a homeodomain with greatest similarity to those of the Caenorhabditis elegans proteins encoded by mec-3 and lin-11. In addition, Isl-1, like the lin-11 and mec-3 gene products, contains a novel Cys-His domain which is reminiscent of known metal-binding regions. Together these proteins define a novel class of proteins containing both a homeo- and a Cys His-domain. Isl-1 is preferentially expressed in cells of pancreatic endocrine origin. If the structural homologies between Isl-1 and the C. elegans gene products reflect functional similarities, a role for Isl-1 in the development of pancreatic endocrine cells could be envisaged.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis / analysis
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cysteine
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Histidine
  • Homeodomain Proteins*
  • Insulin / genetics*
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • RNA / analysis
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription Factors


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Insulin
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • insulin gene enhancer binding protein Isl-1
  • Histidine
  • RNA
  • DNA
  • Cysteine