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AraC protein, which regulates expression of the l-arabinose operon in Escherichia coli, is a dimer whose DNA binding affinity for pairs of DNA half-sites is controlled by arabinose. Here we have addressed the question of whether the arabinose response of AraC requires the binding of one or two molecules of arabinose. This was accomplished by measuring the DNA dissociation rates of wild-type AraC and heterodimeric AraC constructs in which one subunit is capable of binding arabinose and the other subunit does not bind arabinose. Solutions consisting entirely of heterodimers were formed by spontaneous subunit exchange between two different homodimers, with heterodimers being trapped by the formation of an intersubunit disulfide bond between cysteine residues strategically positioned within the dimerization interface. We found that the normal arabinose response of AraC requires the binding of two arabinose molecules. These results provide additional constraints on mechanistic models for the action of AraC.


Michael E Rodgers, Robert Schleif. Heterodimers reveal that two arabinose molecules are required for the normal arabinose response of AraC. Biochemistry. 2012 Oct 16;51(41):8085-91

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PMID: 23002904

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