Send to

Choose Destination
Biochemistry. 1988 Feb 23;27(4):1094-104.

Dynamics of repressor-operator recognition: the Tn10-encoded tetracycline resistance control.

Author information

Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie, Göttingen, FRG.


Binding of the Tet repressor to nonspecific and specific DNA leads to quenching of the Tet fluorescence by approximately 22% and approximately 35%, respectively. This effect is used for a direct, quantitative characterization of the binding equilibria and dynamics involved in the recognition of the operator by its repressor. From the dependence of the nonspecific binding constant on the ion concentration, it is concluded that nonspecific binding is almost completely driven by the entropy change resulting from the release of three to four Na+ ions from the double helix upon protein binding. Formation of the specific complex is driven by a higher entropy term resulting from the release of seven to eight Na+ ions and in addition by a free energy term of -33 kJ/mol from nonelectrostatic interactions, which are attributed to the specific contacts. The dynamics of the repressor-operator recognition are resolved by stopped-flow measurements at various salt concentrations and for different DNA chain lengths into two separate steps. The first step follows a second-order mechanism and results in an intermediate complex associated with formation of about three to four electrostatic contacts between protein and DNA; apparently, this complex is equivalent to the nonspecific complex. The existence of an intermediate is also indicated by experiments in mixed Na+-Mg2+ buffers, which can be described with high accuracy by competition of Mg2+ and protein. The intermediate complex is formed at a rate of 3 X 10(8) M-1 s-1 and is converted in the second reaction step to the specific complex with a rate constant of 6 X 10(4) s-1, which is almost independent of the salt concentration. Our interpretation and the parameters obtained from our model are confirmed by competition of nonspecific DNA with operator DNA for repressor binding. The observed maximal rate constant of 3 X 10(8) M-1 s-1 is very close to theoretical predictions for the association without a sliding mechanism. The very small dependence of the observed rate constants on the chain length shows that the Tet repressor is not able to slide over any substantial distance even at low salt concentrations. The question of a potential contribution from sliding under our experimental conditions is critically discussed. The absence of sliding in the case of the Tet repressor under physiological conditions is compared with the high sliding efficiency of the lac repressor and is discussed with respect to possible molecular mechanisms of sliding in relation to biological function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center