PROSITE documentation PDOC00300
GATA-type zinc finger domain signature and profile


The GATA family of transcription factors are proteins that bind to DNA sites with the consensus sequence (A/T)GATA(A/G), found within the regulatory region of a number of genes. Proteins currently known to belong to this family are:

  • GATA-1 [1] (also known as Eryf1, GF-1 or NF-E1), which binds to the GATA region of globin genes and other genes expressed in erythroid cells. It is a transcriptional activator which probably serves as a general 'switch' factor for erythroid development.
  • GATA-2 [2], a transcriptional activator which regulates endothelin-1 gene expression in endothelial cells.
  • GATA-3 [3], a transcriptional activator which binds to the enhancer of the T-cell receptor α and delta genes.
  • GATA-4 [4], a transcriptional activator expressed in endodermally derived tissues and heart.
  • Drosophila protein pannier (or DGATAa) (gene pnr) which acts as a repressor of the achaete-scute complex (as-c).
  • Bombyx mori BCFI [5], which regulates the expression of chorion genes.
  • Caenorhabditis elegans elt-1 and elt-2, transcriptional activators of genes containing the GATA region, including vitellogenin genes [6].
  • Ustilago maydis urbs1 [7], a protein involved in the repression of the biosynthesis of siderophores.
  • Fission yeast protein GAF2.

All these transcription factors contain a pair of highly similar 'zinc finger' type domains with the consensus sequence C-x2-C-x17-C-x2-C.

Some other proteins contain a single zinc finger motif highly related to those of the GATA transcription factors. These proteins are:

  • Drosophila box A-binding factor (ABF) (also known as protein serpent (gene srp)) which may function as a transcriptional activator protein and may play a key role in the organogenesis of the fat body.
  • Emericella nidulans areA [8], a transcriptional activator which mediates nitrogen metabolite repression.
  • Neurospora crassa nit-2 [9], a transcriptional activator which turns on the expression of genes coding for enzymes required for the use of a variety of secondary nitrogen sources, during conditions of nitrogen limitation.
  • Neurospora crassa white collar proteins 1 and 2 (WC-1 and WC-2), which control expression of light-regulated genes.
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae DAL81 (or UGA43), a negative nitrogen regulatory protein.
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae GLN3, a positive nitrogen regulatory protein.
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae GAT1 to GAT4.
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae GZF3.
Last update:

April 2006 / Pattern revised.


Technical section

PROSITE methods (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

GATA_ZN_FINGER_2, PS50114; GATA-type zinc finger domain profile  (MATRIX)

GATA_ZN_FINGER_1, PS00344; GATA-type zinc finger domain  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsTrainor C.D. Evans T. Felsenfeld G. Boguski M.S.
TitleStructure and evolution of a human erythroid transcription factor.
SourceNature 343:92-96(1990).
PubMed ID2104960

2AuthorsLee M.E. Temizer D.H. Clifford J.A. Quertermous T.
TitleCloning of the GATA-binding protein that regulates endothelin-1 gene expression in endothelial cells.
SourceJ. Biol. Chem. 266:16188-16192(1991).
PubMed ID1714909

3AuthorsHo I.-C. Vorhees P. Marin N. Oakley B.K. Tsai S.-F. Orkin S.H. Leiden J.M.
TitleHuman GATA-3: a lineage-restricted transcription factor that regulates the expression of the T cell receptor alpha gene.
SourceEMBO J. 10:1187-1192(1991).
PubMed ID1827068

4AuthorsSpieth J. Shim Y.H. Lea K. Conrad R. Blumenthal T.
Titleelt-1, an embryonically expressed Caenorhabditis elegans gene homologous to the GATA transcription factor family.
SourceMol. Cell. Biol. 11:4651-4659(1991).
PubMed ID1875944

5AuthorsDrevet J.R. Skeiky Y.A. Iatrou K.
TitleGATA-type zinc finger motif-containing sequences and chorion gene transcription factors of the silkworm Bombyx mori.
SourceJ. Biol. Chem. 269:10660-10667(1994).
PubMed ID8144656

6AuthorsHawkins M.G. McGhee J.D.
Titleelt-2, a second GATA factor from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
SourceJ. Biol. Chem. 270:14666-14671(1995).
PubMed ID7782329

7AuthorsVoisard C.P.O. Wang J. McEvoy J.L. Xu P. Leong S.A.
Titleurbs1, a gene regulating siderophore biosynthesis in Ustilago maydis, encodes a protein similar to the erythroid transcription factor GATA-1.
SourceMol. Cell. Biol. 13:7091-7100(1993).
PubMed ID8413298

8AuthorsArst H.N. Jr. Kudla B. Martinez-Rossi N. Caddick M.X. Sibley S. Davies R.W.
TitleAspergillus and mouse share a new class of 'zinc finger' protein.
SourceTrends Genet. 5:291-291(1989).
PubMed ID2511649

9AuthorsFu Y.-H. Marzluf G.-A.
Titlenit-2, the major nitrogen regulatory gene of Neurospora crassa, encodes a protein with a putative zinc finger DNA-binding domain.
SourceMol. Cell. Biol. 10:1056-1065(1990).
PubMed ID2137552

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