Send to

Choose Destination
J Mol Biol. 1988 Apr 20;200(4):709-23.

Selection of DNA binding sites by regulatory proteins. II. The binding specificity of cyclic AMP receptor protein to recognition sites.

Author information

Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene 97403.


The statistics of base-pair usage within known recognition sites for a particular DNA-binding protein can be used to estimate the relative protein binding affinities to these sites, as well as to sites containing any other combinations of base-pairs. As has been described elsewhere, the connection between base-pair statistics and binding free energy is made by an equal probability selection assumption; i.e. that all base-pair sequences that provide appropriate binding strength are equally likely to have been chosen as recognition sites in the course of evolution. This is analogous to a statistical-mechanical system where all configurations with the same energy are equally likely to occur. In this communication, we apply the statistical-mechanical selection theory to analyze the base-pair statistics of the known recognition sequences for the cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP). The theoretical predictions are found to be in reasonable agreement with binding data for those sequences for which experimental binding information is available, thus lending support to the basic assumptions of the selection theory. On the basis of this agreement, we can predict the affinity for CRP binding to any base-pair sequence, albeit with a large statistical uncertainty. When the known recognition sites for CRP are ranked according to predicted binding affinities, we find that the ranking is consistent with the hypothesis that the level of function of these sites parallels their fractional saturation with CRP-cAMP under in-vivo conditions. When applied to the entire genome, the theory predicts the existence of a large number of randomly occurring "pseudosites" with strong binding affinity for CRP. It appears that most CRP molecules are engaged in non-productive binding at non-specific or pseudospecific sites under in-vivo conditions. In this sense, the specificity of the CRP binding site is very low. Relative specificity requirements for polymerases, repressors and activators are compared in light of the results of this and the first paper in this series.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center