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J Mol Biol. 1992 Jul 5;226(1):59-68.

How Lac repressor finds lac operator in vitro.

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Institut für Genetik, Universität zu Köln, FRG.


Filter-binding and gel mobility shift assays were used to analyse the kinetics of the interaction of Lac repressor with lac operator. A comparison of the two techniques reveals that filter-binding assays with tetrameric Lac repressor have often been misinterpreted. It has been assumed that all complexes of Lac repressor and lac operator DNA bind with equal affinity to nitrocellulose filters. This assumption is wrong. Sandwich or loop complexes where two lac operators bind to one tetrameric Lac repressor are not or are only badly retained on nitrocellulose filters under normal conditions. Taking this into account, dimeric and tetrameric Lac repressor do not show any DNA-length dependence of their association and dissociation rate constants when they bind to DNA fragments smaller than 2455 base-pairs carrying a single symmetric ideal lac operator. A ninefold increased association rate to ideal lac operator on lambda DNA is observed for tetrameric but not dimeric Lac repressor. It is presumably due to intersegment transfer involving lac operator-like sequences.

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