Most biological events are regulated at the molecular level by site-specific associations between specialized proteins and DNA. These associations may bring distal regions of the genome into functional contact or may lead to the formation of large multisubunit complexes capable of regulating highly site-specific transactional events. It is now believed that sequence-specific protein-DNA recognition and the ability of certain proteins to compete for multiple binding sites is regulated at several levels by the local structure and conformation of the binding partners. These encompass the microstructure of DNA, including its curvature, bending and flexing as well as conformational lability in the DNA-binding domains of the proteins. Possible mechanisms for binding specificity are discussed in the context of specific nucleoprotein systems with particular emphasis given to the roles of DNA conformations in these interactions.