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J Mol Biol. 1998 May 8;278(3):529-38.

Apo-AraC actively seeks to loop.

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Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.


In the absence of arabinose and interactions with other proteins, AraC, the activator-repressor that regulates the araBAD operon in Escherichia coli, was found to prefer participating in DNA looping interactions between the two well-separated DNA half-sites, araI1 and araO2 at their normal separation of 211 base-pairs rather than binding to these same two half-sites when they are adjacent to one another. On the addition of arabinose, AraC preferred to bind to the adjacently located half-sites. Inverting the distally located araO2 half-site eliminated the looping preference. These results demonstrate that apo-AraC possesses an intrinsic looping preference that is eliminated by the presence of arabinose. We developed a method for the accurate determination of the relative affinities of AraC for the DNA half-sites araI1, araI2, and araO2 and non-specific DNA. These affinities allowed accurate calculation of basal level and induced levels of expression from pBAD under a wide variety of natural and mutant conditions. The calculations independently predicted the looping preference of apo-AraC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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