Ankyrin repeat: a unique motif mediating protein-protein interactions

Biochemistry. 2006 Dec 26;45(51):15168-78. doi: 10.1021/bi062188q.


Ankyrin repeat, one of the most widely existing protein motifs in nature, consists of 30-34 amino acid residues and exclusively functions to mediate protein-protein interactions, some of which are directly involved in the development of human cancer and other diseases. Each ankyrin repeat exhibits a helix-turn-helix conformation, and strings of such tandem repeats are packed in a nearly linear array to form helix-turn-helix bundles with relatively flexible loops. The global structure of an ankyrin repeat protein is mainly stabilized by intra- and inter-repeat hydrophobic and hydrogen bonding interactions. The repetitive and elongated nature of ankyrin repeat proteins provides the molecular bases of the unique characteristics of ankyrin repeat proteins in protein stability, folding and unfolding, and binding specificity. Recent studies have demonstrated that ankyrin repeat proteins do not recognize specific sequences, and interacting residues are discontinuously dispersed into the whole molecules of both the ankyrin repeat protein and its partner. In addition, the availability of thousands of ankyrin repeat sequences has made it feasible to use rational design to modify the specificity and stability of physiologically important ankyrin repeat proteins and even to generate ankyrin repeat proteins with novel functions through combinatorial chemistry approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Animals
  • Ankyrin Repeat / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs*
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods