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J Mol Biol. 1985 Aug 5;184(3):441-53.

Temperature dependence of the rate constants of the Escherichia coli RNA polymerase-lambda PR promoter interaction. Assignment of the kinetic steps corresponding to protein conformational change and DNA opening.


The kinetics of formation and of dissociation of open complexes (RPo) between Escherichia coli RNA polymerase (R) and the lambda PR promoter (P) have been studied as a function of temperature in the physiological range using the nitrocellulose filter binding assay. The kinetic data provide further evidence for the mechanism R + P in equilibrium I1 in equilibrium I2 in equilibrium RPo, where I1 and I2 are kinetically distinguishable intermediate complexes at this promoter which do not accumulate under the reaction conditions investigated. The overall second-order association rate constant (ka) increases dramatically with increasing temperature, yielding a temperature-dependent activation energy in the range 20 kcal (near 37 degrees C) to 40 kcal (near 13 degrees C) (1 kcal = 4.184 kJ). Both isomerization steps (I1----I2 and I2----RPo) appear to be highly temperature dependent. Except at low temperatures (less than 13 degrees C) the step I1----I2, which we attribute to a conformational change in the polymerase with a large negative delta Cp degrees value, is rate-limiting at the reactant concentrations investigated and hence makes the dominant contribution to the apparent activation energy of the pseudo first-order association reaction. The subsequent step I2----RPo, which we attribute to DNA melting, has a higher activation energy (in excess of 100 kcal) but only becomes rate-limiting at low temperature (less than 13 degrees C). The initial binding step R + P in equilibrium I1 appears to be in equilibrium on the time-scale of the isomerization reactions under all conditions investigated; the equilibrium constant for this step is not a strong function of temperature and is approximately 10(7) M-1 under the standard ionic conditions of the assay (40 mM-Tris . HCl (pH 8.0), 10 mM-MgCl2, 0.12 M-KC1). The activation energy of the dissociation reaction becomes increasingly negative at low temperatures, ranging from approximately -9 kcal near 37 degrees C to -30 kcal near 13 degrees C. Thermodynamic (van't Hoff) enthalpies delta H degrees of open complex formation consequently are large and temperature-dependent, increasing from approximately 29 to 70 kcal as the temperature is reduced from 37 to 13 degrees C. The corresponding delta Cp degrees value is approximately -2.4 kcal/deg. We propose that this large negative delta Cp degrees value arises primarily from the burial of hydrophobic surface in the conformational change (I1 in equilibrium I2) in RNA polymerase in the key second step of the mechanism.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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