Sci. STKE, 29 May 2007
Biochemistry Real-Life Transcription Factor Dynamics
Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Transcription factors bind to specific sites on chromosomal DNA to regulate gene expression. It is generally thought that transcription factors find their target DNA through a combination of diffusion through the cytoplasm and diffusion along DNA segments. Elf et al. use single-molecule techniques to study the specific and nonspecific binding of a model transcription factor, the lac repressor, in living Escherichia coli. Lac repressor searching for an operator spends 90% of its time diffusing along DNA. If the repressor does not find an operator within 5 milliseconds, it falls off the DNA and diffuses through the cytoplasm to bind to another DNA segment. Such single-molecule approaches will move us toward a quantitative understanding of biochemical processes as they occur in living cells.
Citation: V. Vinson, Real-Life Transcription Factor Dynamics. Sci. STKE 2007, tw190 (2007).
Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882