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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 Dec;84(24):8814-8.

Arabinose-induced binding of AraC protein to araI2 activates the araBAD operon promoter.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara 93106.


The state of Escherichia coli araI DNA occupancy by AraC protein has been found to change from a two-turn to a four-turn occupancy upon the addition of the inducer arabinose. The araI site is separable into two contiguous regions, araI1 and araI2. araI1 binds both ligand-bound and ligand-free AraC protein, whereas araI2 binds AraC protein in the presence of arabinose only. A mutation in araI and a known mutation in araC led to the loss of araI2 binding, while binding to araI1 was unaffected. Both mutants failed to activate the promoter of the araBAD operon. We propose that araI2 occupancy by AraC protein leads to RNA polymerase recognition of the araBAD promoter and that araI1 acts as a switch mechanism allowing both the repressor and the activator forms of AraC protein to regulate the araBAD promoter.

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