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Biopolymers. 2001-2002;61(3):201-13.

Fluorescence resonance energy transfer analysis of escherichia coli RNA polymerase and polymerase-DNA complexes.

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Edward A. Doisy Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, St. Louis University Medical School, 1402 S. Grand Blvd., MO 63104, USA.


Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) is a technique allowing measurements of atomic-scale distances in diluted solutions of macromolecules under native conditions. This feature makes FRET a powerful tool to study complicated biological assemblies. In this report we review the applications of FRET to studies of transcription initiation by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase. The versatility of FRET for studies of a large macromolecular assembly such as RNA polymerase is illustrated by examples of using FRET to address several different aspects of transcription initiation by polymerase. FRET has been used to determine the architecture of polymerase, its complex with single-stranded DNA, and the conformation of promoter fragment bound to polymerase. FRET has been also used as a binding assay to determine the thermodynamics of promoter DNA fragment binding to the polymerase. Functional conformational changes in the specificity subunit of polymerase responsible for the modulation of the promoter binding activity of the enzyme and the mechanistic aspects of the transition from the initiation to the elongation complex were also investigated.

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