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Conversation 11: No. 1

category image Volume: Conversation 11
Issue Number 1
May 2000
ISBN 0-940030-80-2

Role of the N- and C- Terminal Dimer Interfaces of 434 Repressor in Recognizing Sequence-Dependent DNA Structure

The binding of proteins to specific DNA sequences plays a central role in the regulation of gene expression. Crucial to understanding how these proteins exert their effects is insight into the structure and flexibility of the protein-DNA complex. Over the past several years much has been learned about how the intimate contacts made between proteins and DNA enable proteins to recognize and bind with high specificity only to their cognate DNA binding sites. Studies conducted in our laboratory have shown that sequence-specific binding of DNA by proteins not only involves the close approach of amino acids and base pairs in the binding site, but also that base pairs not in contact with the protein affect binding and specificity through sequence-specific effects on DNA structure. The direct reading of the DNA sequence by proteins occurs by chemical complementarity between the interacting groups. Proper alignment of the interacting surfaces of functional groups on the protein and DNA molecules is crucial to the formation of stable and specific protein-DNA complexes. In many cases, the appropriate juxtaposition of the chemically complementary groups requires mutual adjustments in the structure of protein and DNA. Failure to do so can result in loss of affinity, loss of specificity or both. Together, the dimer interface and noncontacted bases within or adjacent to the binding site direct the structural complementarity between the functional groups on the protein and DNA.

Gerald B. Koudelka
Amy L. Donner
Mihai Ciubotaru

Department of Biological Sciences
State University of New York at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York 14260

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