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Nucleic Acids Res. 1997 May 1;25(9):1685-93.

DNA binding and DNA bending by the MelR transcription activator protein from Escherichia coli.

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  • 1School of Biochemistry, The University of Birmingham, PO Box 363, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.


The Escherichia coli melR gene encodes MelR protein which is a member of the AraC/XylS family of bacterial transcription activators. The function of MelR was investigated by making a targeted deletion in the melR gene of the Escherichia coli chromosome. MelR is a transcription activator essential for melibiose- dependent expression of the melAB operon which is needed for bacterial growth with melibiose as a carbon source. To investigate the interactions of MelR at the melAB promoter, both full length MelR and a shortened derivative, MelR173, containing the C-terminal DNA-binding domain, were purified as fusions to glutathione- S -transferase. Circular permutation studies show that both full-length MelR and MelR173 induce an apparent bend upon binding to target sites at the melAB promoter. Bound full-length MelR, but not MelR173, can oligomerise to form larger complexes that are likely to be involved in transcription activation.

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